Roadside Picnic (ostranenie)

Draft of an experimental video-sonic poem from a current artist residency in the Elan Valley, Wales. With Elan Links And assisted by CARAD – Community Arts Rhayader And District. Macro-photography from the upper zones of the Elan Valley watershed/catchment. Soundtrack…

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Draft of an experimental video-sonic poem from a current artist residency in the Elan Valley, Wales.
With Elan Links
And assisted by CARAD – Community Arts Rhayader And District.

Macro-photography from the upper zones of the Elan Valley watershed/catchment.
Soundtrack assemblage derived from selected audio extracts from my recording of the play, The Valley of Nantgywllt, by Peter Cox, performed in Feb 2020 at the Rhayader Leisure Centre, by Rhayader YFC.

Roadside Picnic is a Russian science-fiction novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, written 50 years ago.
It describes one of 6 zones visited by alien landings (during ‘The Visitation’), all of which subsequently exhibit strange forces and unexplained phenomena.
The 1979 film Stalker, directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, is loosely based on the novel.

Ostranenie is also Russian – a term meaning ‘seeing the familiar in a strange light’
My experience of delving into the micro world of mosses, liverworts and lichens was evocative of entering an alien landscape – with its strange forms and colours. On the one hand, this upland bog landscape is very familiar (to me), but the change of scale renders it unfamiliar and fascinating. A re-enchantment perhaps? Hence ‘ostranenie’.
In a recent conversation with writer Rob MacFarlane, he pointed out that Shklovsky also used the description “making the stone stony”.

In a related way, the soundtrack takes sounds familiar to the cast of the play and, via very simple manipulations, aims to achieve a defamiliarization.

Nearly all the images are from the rotting remnants of the wooden posts that once fenced-in some rain gauges, originally constructed by Birmingham Corporation.

Life, death, cycles, flow…

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