Intra Actions

2018 – ongoing

Intra actions collects work written, performed and filmed as site-responsive pieces at a very particular location: Wonwell in South Devon.

Click to watch Ancestors
Click to watch Field Note: Wonwell

My relationship with Wonwell began in childhood. This beach is the closest one to my home and has consistently been the place where I go to get some critical and emotional distance from ongoing projects. I presented a short video poem about this site at Flows of Entanglements, a conference hosted by the University of Plymouth Geography Department in September 2019, and have engaged a number of people in walking conversations at the site, one at a time, including representatives of the local AONB and Natural England, a paleoarchaeologist, an amputee war veteran, a diver interested in wrecks and ordinance, and others. There are many more of these conversations planned, with a view to building up a repository of embodied relationships that this ecotonic site hosts. Irregular journal entries add to material that I hope to develop into a publication.

Excerpts from journal

October 3rd 2018 14.30

It is high tide but it is on its way out. Midweek on an overcast afternoon. One couple walk by. Recent tides have clearly been gentle, a pattern of wrack zone lines descending from the ever-crumbling cliff to the shoreline show little by way of sea-borne gifts besides fresh sea lettuce and small drifts of dead kelp, heaped in strings like discarded spinal columns or lions tails. Plus a baseball cap from Cyprus. At first, the sounds I can hear are like a discordant orchestra of school recorders, fluting out of sync and out of tune. Closer inspection reveals a small but vocal group of gulls bobbing on the open water. I think that two juveniles are seeking their parents. It is cold, even my legs want more layers. My short sojourn today however, blows some cobwebs and is very welcome. As I walk back to the road the ground is a swirling carpet of autumn leaves.

June 1st 2019 0800

Tide very out. A truly beautiful morning, a calm estuarial meander that meets clean waves with short-lived yet perpetual white crests. The surface of the water is positively mill-pond, reflecting the intense green of the headlands and the streaky blue sky. Everything about today feels like Day One of something momentous. Bit by bit, the beach gets drenched in light as the morning sun climbs above the headland behind me. I move further up the river towards the incoming ocean and sit on the log on the secret beach, watching an angler, and a paddle-boarder engage with the water. I am surrounded by footprints made by different birds – there was clearly an avian party here last night. A claw footed bird – a crow? – had played in the sand, dragging its tail or a wing as it walked. Another large bird, with webbed feet, had joined in. Their criss-crossing tracks are quite complex, they had clearly engaged consciously with each other, but whether as friends or foe I will never know. The sun on my back is close to being too warm. A small fishing boat passes out to sea, between the nearby waves and the very distant band of sea fog. My shadow gets shorter as the sun claims the day. Behind me a cacophony of hedgerow birds are busy with the business of late Spring. The here and now of a Wonwell morning captivates me.

February 27th 2020 12.30pm

Tide Out. After an eternity of storms, high winds and severe amounts of rain, at last the sun is out. Spring flowers already peek out from the hedgerows, which are themselves turning green. Today, evidence of kelp thrashing is clear, and minor landslides bring the cliffs a little closer to the shore. A man stands painting the scene. Another man walks his drone. Behind and above me, the cliff path has been cut back a lot to make the path easier to navigate, but it also played a part in causing – or not stopping – the landslides. The blue sky is vast.

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