Rivers and Tides (2001) Movie Script

Art, for me, is a form of nourishment.
I... I need... I need the land.
I need it.
I want to understand that state
and that energy that I have in me
that I also feel in the plants
and in the land.
The energy and life
that is running through the...
Flowing through the landscape.
You know, that intangible thing
that is here and then gone.
Growth, time, change,
and the idea of flow in nature.
There's two big influences
in my work...
The sea and the river...
Both water.
You would think that time would be
more compatible with the tide.
Time and tide...
This daily up and down.
But somehow, I think there's
a lot to be learned about time
by the river.
There are always
these obsessive forms
that you cannot get rid of.
I don't like the sensation
of traveling.
I feel dislocated, uprooted,
and it takes me time
to re-establish roots again.
And when I arrive at a new place
I have to begin work
almost immediately.
There's no period
of research or resting.
I go straight to work.
The tide is quite extraordinary...
To have that liquid movement
backwards and forwards.
And the cold,
and its relationship to stone
and fluidity.
But I'm a stranger here.
I'm a stranger, so...
I am so out of touch with it.
I've shook hands with the place...
and begun.
And the work's going well.
I feel warm, but...
Then there's a collapse.
I think I've got this cold,
and it's right through me.
I think good art keeps you warm.
I've mistimed it today.
I got up early, very...
You know, 4:00.
And I couldn't see anything.
The moon was out, but...
But it cast a shadow down here.
And then once you lose your heat,
it's gone, you know.
Have to get it back.
And I have to work
with my bare hands.
Because my gloves stick,
and I don't have the sensitivity
to do it with gloves.
I lose feel of it.
I always like to touch, you know...
You never shake someone's hand
with a glove on.
It is hard... hard going.
And it is cold sometimes
on the hands,
and I do get up very early.
And all that effort
is ultimately going into trying
to make something
that it is effortless.
I wish I had reached this point
about an hour ago
before the sun had risen.
What is extraordinary
that I didn't expect
but I would have... could only
have dreamt of happening
is that the sun coming from there
shines completely
on both sides of the rock.
So all that icicle is illuminated
and against that cliff.
And I never had any idea
that that would happen.
So the potential...
The potential here is fantastic!
You know, it is water.
The river and the sea made solid.
And there's so many works
that I've made that the thing...
The very thing that brings
the work to life
is the thing
that will cause it death.
My first view of the beach
was a river,
and a pool that was being turned
by the river.
So I'm trying to touch
and understand that motion...
The flow and the meeting
of the river with the sea.
I mean, these two waters meeting.
- Hello.
- Fantastic!
- Do you need any help?
- No, I'm done for the day.
When I was a boy, we used to stand
on those rocks and dive in.
- The water was a little deeper then...
- Yeah?
I think.
Must have been.
Do you have a name for this?
This a salmon hole. Yes.
- So, you caught salmon from here?
- Yeah. Well, many times.
Many times. Salmon.
They were touching each other,
they were so thick.
But I'll need such a strong
connection to Scotland.
You know, we have
a lot of salmon holes, too.
I like that. I like that feeling
of the fish there underneath.
- Yes.
- You know that?
It has a sense of a whirlpool,
you know.
And that's exactly what I wanted.
So I fed off that motion
into this piece.
So, what's gonna happen?
What do you expect is gonna happen
when that tide hits that?
- Don't worry.
- It's just gonna float away!
It's gonna float away.
It'll move into the...
- Will it stay intact?
- It'll move into the pool there.
No, it won't stay intact.
- Absolutely not.
- No.
It feels like it's being taken off
into another plane,
taken off into another world
or another work.
It doesn't feel at all like...
That moment is really part
of that cycle of turning.
You feel as if you've touched
the heart of the place.
That's a way of understanding
for me...
Seeing something
you never saw before
that was always there
but you were blind to.
There are moments
when it is extraordinarily beautiful
in a piece of work.
I mean, though it happens,
that is...
Then those are moments
that I just live for.
Well, it's quarter to 8:00.
And I think the tide's due in
at around 3:00.
And, well, you know,
there's not a lot of time.
And I think you should stop filming
and collect stones instead,
you know.
Do something useful.
The stone is not so bad.
But the...
We're having to walk
quite a distance to get it,
So, all the time we're losing...
Losing time.
So that makes
for an interesting work.
Maybe I quite like that,
that tension.
And there's a risk, you know,
that maybe only this half way up,
and the tide's here.
And, you know,
it's like a marker to that time
that's coming up behind me.
I began working on the beach.
It's where I began.
And it was a great teacher.
About time.
I think the relentlessness of it...
There's no getting away from the fact
that sea is going to be here.
I was at Art College at Lancaster,
and all the students were
in their cubicles, as they are,
and in that cramped space.
And every day I'd catch a train
to Markham, where I was staying.
And you get off the train,
and you see this big expanse...
The space...
In such stark contrast
to the Art College.
And one day, I went off
and worked on the beach.
What struck me
was that sense of energy
when you were outside
of the Art College.
It was very secure
in the Art College.
As soon as you made
something outside,
there was this almost
breathlessness and an uncertainty.
Total control can be
the death of our work.
The stone's speaking.
I've never had one do this before.
And I think it possibly...
It's either the sand
that's settling, and...
Or the weakness of the stone.
Or even the combination of the two.
But I don't think this is going to...
I think that I'll make this
the widest point
and just try to get some weight
back in the middle
to start securing it.
Damn it all.
This is my work, you know.
Too many unknowns.
I think its chances of survival
are a bit slim.
Let's go.
We need a very heavy stone
right here.
Can you bring me
a very heavy stone,
a kind of lumpy squarish one?
Maybe I shouldn't
have put that one on.
- Can you get one end down here?
- Yes.
Just put it gently on this.
- Ready?
- Down.
You okay?
That's the fourth...
The fourth collapse.
And the tide is...
coming in.
I think it would be better to wait.
The moment
when something collapses,
it is intensely disappointing.
And this is the fourth time
it's fallen,
and each time I got to know
the stone a little bit more.
I got higher each time.
So it grew in proportion
to my understanding of the stone.
And that is really
what one of the things
that my art is trying to do.
It's trying to understand the stone.
I obviously don't understand it
well enough yet.
People make small piles of stone
to mark pathways in hills,
mountains in Scotland,
and I think all over the world.
So all the cones
are related in some way,
and they have become markers
to my journeys
and places that I feel
an attachment towards.
And then it has a quality
of this guardian,
the way that it stands and feels
as if it is protecting something.
I like the connection
the form has with the seed...
Very full and ripe.
I think to look at stone
and find growth,
and is expressed in the seed
within stone
is a very powerful image for me.
The sea came in
and the cone just disappeared.
And then it was gone.
But it was still there.
The work that I had only
just finished making,
so my contact with the stone
was still very, very strong.
So I was with it down there,
but I still couldn't see it.
What I have touched on this time
is that I haven't simply
made the piece
to be destroyed by the sea.
It is... the work has been given
to the sea as a gift.
And the sea has taken the work,
and made more of it
than I could have ever hoped for.
And I think that if I can see in that
ways of understanding those things
that happen to us in life,
that changes our lives,
that causes upheavals and shock...
Can't explain that.
That deeper rhythm of change
I can't see other than in my home.
And, well, this is why my homeplace
is becoming more and more
important to me.
Bracken is a material
that I have always enjoyed
working with.
But it's a very hard...
It's a very tough plant
to work with.
It's very aggressive on your hands
when you're pulling it.
It's like razors.
And I always associate the material
with bleeding hands.
And it's one of the few plants
I use a knife on.
And it's a very toxic plant, too.
When it's sporing,
you shouldn't really inhale
at that time.
And I think we misread
the landscape
when we think of it
just being pastoral and pretty.
There is a darker side to that.
Where they've been in the ground,
they've gone black.
And I really like that idea
that the contact between...
The alpine cows with bells.
I like the idea,
that feeling that the contact
between the plant and the...
The flavor of the fire makes
the energy of the fire visible.
Well, it's the same with this black.
It's like a result
of the exchange of energy
that has taken place
between the plant and the earth.
And that... through that process
there is an exchange of heat
that gives it this...
Well, it looks charred.
It looks painted, but it's not.
That's just the root as I find it.
And I think at this time,
when spring is beginning,
that it doesn't begin on the surface,
it begins below, you know?
So this idea of finding evidence
of that heat within the ground
is something that I... in a way,
is my way of understanding
what's going on at the moment.
And even though these are stalks
from last year's plants
and will not grow again this year,
they are still connected to that root
system underneath the ground.
And the idea
of what happened last year
is being repeated this year,
and it's going to come through this.
I am fascinated by those processes
that are happening in nature
over time
and connected to the sun,
the light, the tide, growth.
The real work is the change.
Bacon will be ready.
Want some?
No, it's a surprise.
Yeah, it's cooling out.
Probably you guys can get it.
I called you stupid.
Guys, you don't say that.
Will that do?
You want some bread?
Here we've been cooking...
Frying bread all morning.
The rabbits.
Don't forget to give him
some green leaves, Holly.
I won't.
No, thank you.
Pull it out then.
Pete, come on. Pete.
I'm coming.
- Pete!
- This is a little...!
I'm gonna hold you. You sit.
- I'm gonna hold your fingers.
- Okay, hold my fingers.
Pete, Pete! Come on!
The pupil is dropping.
Floppy. Floppy ears.
Yeah, I think we're good.
And then there's the...
I do my first one of the day's two.
Each are underneath here,
and these all turned out.
Check them for spelling.
The images are coming
from Charlie Sorkin.
I began taking photographs
when I was a student at Art College
when I first began working outside,
and I had to explain to my tutors
what I was making.
And the way to do that
was to take photographs.
So it still is a little bit like that.
Photography has become
the way I talk about my sculpture.
And Brancuzzi once said
about sculpture,
"Why talk about sculpture
when I can photograph it?"
It's the language through which
I talk and describe what I've made.
It's also become the way
that I understand what I have done.
When I've worked all day in the rain,
and I'm tired,
I get visually and physically numb
to what I've made.
And I need that time
between the making
and the return of the images
to be able to see afresh
what I've really done.
And I have in here everything...
Good work and bad work.
Everything is put into here.
I'll see you later, then.
Just to work with the tree,
if you want to.
The tree. Okay?
- Okay?
- All right.
See you later.
What you going to make?
Where are you going to make it,
the tree on, Dave?
Who are you working for?
You know, but what are you
going to make at the tree?
I work intuitively.
Most days I don't know
what I'm gonna do.
I have no idea.
I haven't worked there
for a while, so...
Is Wallis going to help you?
I think Wallis is there, yeah.
So we'll see.
I came here I think 12 years ago.
All my children have been born here.
Most of my good friends are here.
I make my best work here,
and I think those are indications
of how strongly I feel for this place.
Take the ball away!
Fine, Johnson!
- Hey, Audrey.
- Hello.
I've lived in places for four
or five years and moved on,
and that is not enough time.
It really isn't enough time
to understand the changes
that happen in the place.
You have to live on the same street,
the same village
for a long period of time,
and seeing children
when they're waiting at the bus stop
grow into adults
and have children of their own.
There was an old lady in the village
who since died.
She was quite a doer Lady.
And she'd had a tough life.
And she used to walk up and down
the street that I lived on,
and I said, "Well, you know,
think about it this way."
Since I've been on this street,
my son...
Well, all my children
were born there.
My eldest son was the first child
"to be born on that street
for 21 years."
And she said,
"Well, you see only births,
and I see only deaths."
From her perspective,
she just knew all the people
who had lived in those houses
and who, you know...
Who had died.
And I hope I never forget
either those people
who have been born,
and those people who have died.
Somehow the river
is that line that I follow.
The river has
an unpredictability about it.
It really is unpredictable.
And that line running through,
yet, at the same time,
having its own cycles
related to the weather and the sea.
So if I had to find something
that would join the year together,
it would be something like the river.
The river is a river of stone,
a river of animals,
a river of the wind,
a river of the water,
a river of many things.
A river is not dependent on water.
We're talking about the flow.
And the river of growth
that flows through the trees
and the land.
And here's the other lamb
on its own.
Just place it up there.
Make sure it's most clear.
Check that her udder's okay.
And that was all over very quick
and painless.
And if we just retreat,
and they'll get back to the lambs.
Can you bring the lamb to drink?
I think this one would be safe here.
The sheep is very brutal
to any young growth.
And the way it rips and tears
the grass.
They are, at times,
like a river of sheep.
The flow and movement
in their own way.
The reason this landscape
looks as it is,
with no trees,
is because of the sheep.
So the sheep have had
this very deep impact on the land.
So I do feel this need
to work with the sheep.
And, yet, our perception of sheep
is so different to the reality
of the sheep.
You know, we...
In that it makes it an incredibly
difficult thing to work with
because we perceive it
as being a wooly animal.
And to get through that wooliness
to the essence of the sheep
is very, very hard
because sheep are incredibly
powerful animals in their own way.
They have been responsible
for social and political upheavals.
The Highland Clearances,
when people were put off the land,
the land lords put sheep on the land
and moved the people away.
And they've left
their story behind them.
And it's written in the place,
in the landscape.
But there's an absence
in the landscape
because of the effects of sheep.
People have lived, worked,
and died here,
and I can feel their presence
in the places that I work.
And I am the next layer
upon those things
that have happened already.
I don't think the earth
needs me at all.
But I do need it.
To just go off into the woods
and make a piece of work
roots me again.
And if I don't work
for a period of time, I feel...
I do feel rootless.
I don't... I don't know myself.
And it's very odd
if I've not worked for, say,
two, three weeks,
and then I give a lecture
and I'm talking about my work,
and it feels like I'm talking
about somebody else.
I do need to be on my own at times.
I enjoy being by myself.
There are people's company
I do enjoy.
And there probably is
a social nature, too.
And that I feed from that
to some extent.
To be honest, I think I do.
I am tired. I am drained by...
But of all the subtleties
that I am aware of,
like the fact the wind has just now
got a little bit stronger,
and although, you know, I look
as calm as I did 30 seconds ago,
there's these little warning bells
inside going.
When I make a work,
I often take it to the very edge
of its collapse.
And that's a very beautiful balance.
Well, that was close.
I am so amazed at times
that I am actually alive.
Well, that happened occasions.
Well, on occasion, when someone
very close to me died.
It was my younger brother's wife.
Very young.
And the image of...
The image of somebody dying...
Julia dying...
Was just very burnt in your mind.
And the day after Julia's death,
I worked with the tree.
It seemed the right place to go.
And made, the work...
La work with a hole on the tree.
I've become to see it
as a kind of entrance,
a visual entrance into the earth,
into the tree, and stone.
That entrance between which
life both ebbs and flows.
Looking into a black hole,
I've often described
as like looking over a cliff edge.
There's this sense
of being drawn into the black
as you're drawn into the depth,
the distance.
But the other side of that is
out of that comes growth also.
And that was my way
of trying to understand that...
And not just the death,
not just the absence,
because the black is the absence.
It's the...
It's the intangible,
but it's in a context of a tree
that I know will come back to life.
And there's nothing
more potent to me
than a black hole that I've made,
and returning later, and seeing
a little finger of growth...
Growth, a blade of growth
growing out of that black.
That is such a potent image.
You and Maxwell were saying
that Scotland's a lot better
than England.
I have never, ever said that!
When have I ever said that?
I'm not going to...
There's a brilliant rock.
The first wall that I made
with a waller...
You know, my idea was
that I would work with him,
to make the wall.
I used to gap... that's repair,
broken walls a little bit.
But he kept taking
my stones off the wall.
And, you know,
he was right to do that.
I've learned that I have to respect
their work, their life, you know.
And when I work with a waller,
it's not just the time
they spent with me,
but they bring their lives to it.
They don't want me
to touch the walls,
playing at being a waller,
just like I don't want them
to start playing at being artists.
That we both each
have our roles in this.
And my role is
to find the line of the wall.
And I work the space.
Their dialogue with the stone
is what makes the wall.
The stones are laid on,
and on, and on,
and the work makes itself
to some extent.
And it's that fluidity of working
that gives the sculpture
a sense of movement and energy.
When I was asked to make a work
at Storm King...
And I spent a lot of time
walking around,
just getting to know the place.
And I see these walls,
that's now derelict,
that are a link back to my home.
Because these walls
were probably made by people
who came out from Europe,
possibly even Scotland...
Who came out here as settlers,
made farms, made walls.
So that was the first interest.
I wanted to redraw the line,
remake the wall,
so that it talked about the place
as it is now.
The walls here came out
of that process
of cutting down the trees
and turning the forest
into farmland.
But then farming has shifted away from
this landscape.
And trees found shelter in the wall
and grew.
So it was this dialogue
that was of interest to me.
That each bast of wall is a line
that is in sympathy
with the place
through which it travels.
And that sense of movement
is very important
to understanding the sculpture.
While the movement,
the passage of people,
the movement of the wall,
the river of stone,
as it runs round the trees,
the river of growth
that is the forest.
And it has made me aware
of that flow around the world,
the veins that run around the world.
The reason why the stone is red
is because of its iron content.
And that's also the reason
why our blood is red, too.
I do feel a...
There is a special energy
about the red.
I mean, it's probably
its relationship to blood.
But probably something
that I can't really explain entirely.
I think it's the color is
an expression of life.
Even though things die,
they're part of that flow still.
You know, they become part
of the river of red.
In Japan, you'll see a red maple tree
against a green mountain
and this incredible red.
And it's like a wound.
It's like a wound in the mountain.
There's such an energy and violence
about that color.
And I will al...
I am in a continuous pursuit
of the red.
And I have this feeling
that as I approach its source,
the more I begin
to understand the color.
You know, there are many lessons
to be learned by that color.
And I think that when the realization
was that I...
The color is also in me,
you know, then it's this feeling
of both a color and an energy
flowing though all things.
I must have worked here
several times
before realizing the red here.
You know, it's not so obvious.
And just looking underneath stones,
you find these small, red,
soft iron stones.
That something so dramatic,
so intense, could be so...
At the same time, so hidden.
It's so underneath
the skin of the earth.
And there's a real shock
at seeing that color.
Something very alien to the river.
In fact, it is so rooted
and about that place.
You know, here I am
working with the stone,
grinding them down, and...
You know, I spend all this time...
Several hours...
Making a little pile of pigment
that I will make into a ball,
and throw into the river,
and there'll be a splash.
And that's just an instant
in that cycle of stone
as it goes through its process
of solidification,
of then becoming fluid again,
and then being solid...
Made solid once again.
And I think it's one of the...
It's a little memory
in the life of a stone,
but very much in the spirit of that...
In the nature of stone.
We set so much by our idea
of the stability of stone.
And when you find that stone itself
is actually fluid and liquid,
that really undermines my sense
of what is here to stay
and what isn't.
When I work with a building,
I try to use the whole wall...
To touch on a landscape contained
within and behind the building.
It's almost a memory
of the building's origin
contained in the walls,
and it's drawing out that memory.
I wanted the clay either from Dean
or a clay from Scotland.
What I didn't want was a sort
of anonymous, processed clay
that came from some ceramic shop
The clay is dug raw
from the ground,
and I sift out some of the stones.
It's dried, then it's crushed,
and mixed with human hair,
and mixed with water...
And the hair is necessary to bind.
And I could use sheep, cow, horse,
but I do like that feeling of people
being bound up in there.
The hair came from the hairdresser's
in the village near to where I live.
So my village is in this work.
I discovered when I made
the first clay walls
that the architectural geology
of the building where beams were
affected the drying rate
and formed cracks
and patterns within the cracking.
So what lies bellow the surface
affects the surface.
Of course, it feels alive, yeah.
If anything, it's an expression
of the stone alive...
Almost back to its origin
as in a volcano,
you know, when the stone was alive.
I mean, it's always alive,
but that visible evidence
of movement
and eruption of the stone.
There's that feeling
of energy within it.
And that's life.
I cannot then explain beyond that,
but I know that there is more
than just a simple collapsing
and arrival of material.
I struggle to say these things,
and I know I can
just about get them out,
but there's a world beyond
what words can define for me.
Words are... do their job,
but what I'm doing here
says a lot more.