Annette Kennerley, June 13th–25th 2021

Plans may have been unpredictably (and painfully) disrupted by my accident a few days before my residency (I fell and fractured my right hand in two places), but time for reflection is always a luxury. Time to focus on small details around you. Time for gathering thoughts and for honing ideas.

Time also to learn to type and film with my non-dominant left hand! Everything is forced to slow down but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Challenge can throw up more unexpected paths to explore and often leads to more creative results. Coping with the restrictions of lockdown has perhaps equipped us with better ways of adapting to our circumstances. And a location so special as Brisons Veor provided all the inspiration and creative, restorative energy I could have hoped for with its ever-changing sights and sounds, colours and light. I was waking at 5am with the sunrise and the local choughs darting by, chuckling. Writing down thoughts and plans, typing with one or two fingers, slowly.

This time of year in West Cornwall offers up such magical long evenings of sharp light, heightened colours and contrasting shadows – my ideal time for shooting on vintage Super 8 film. I had plenty of time to source locations and plan shots, to chart tide times, the weather and sunsets. Exploring with an open eye led to unexpected discoveries and new ideas.

I sat on a bench down at Priest Cove, watching the evening tide rolling away and envying people swimming in the foaming glitterball sea. I shot some close-ups there of rusty chains and fishing tackle, the plaster cast providing a rather useful Steadicam for my (one)hand-held filming! Then down to Porthledden Cove where I shot some footage at high tide even though the low clouds kept up. At the last minute the sun slipped through briefly and left a pink glow in the sunset sky.

On an exploratory walk down the lane down to Kenidjack Valley, we walked past the ruins of the old mines, the giant water wheel and the extensive site of the old arsenic mine there. I took lots of stills and went back to film later that evening. Two hours to ourselves there in perfect light, dodging the disused mine shafts. It may have involved a tin of beans and some bubbly – sounds odd but this is how my films take shape and evolve. I work with various further experimental processes in re-working, abstracting and re-filming a mixture of footage I have collected over a period of time alongside creating a script and sounds to add to the visuals.

I shot more footage at Cot Valley, Botallack and Carn Gloose, and the library in St Just were helpful with info on the old mines and pointed me towards further sources. I will continue to research once I am back on the internet and to revisit other sources in Cornwall.

I have always written – over 50,000 words during lockdown. I managed to write a few thousand words at Brisons Veor, albeit much more slowly than usual. Sparks of a potential fiction work have been ignited during my residency which is very exciting and unexpected. I was able to talk through my ideas and made some starter notes. It may involve tin mines, spirits and legends. Sea swimming, knotweed, choughs. It may have something to do with arsenic. My writing and filmmaking always combine at some point.

I left Brisons Veor feeling alive with fresh ideas and with five reels of film to work with. Amazing.