'The Cruel Sea'
A poetic, deep and dark meditation on the sea
A 5 minute film by Kate Sweeney and Claire Ford and residents of the Princess House residential home Sunderland
After setting up a projection screen in the Princess House lounge, Kate and Claire invite the residents to sit and respond to a long film of the sea. The sea brings an atmosphere into the room and the waves create a rhythm, so thoughts and words flow. As artists, Kate and Claire are interested in new ways of telling stories. To bring poetry and universality to a story, they are interested in interrupting memory - itself always an unreliable, subjective tool. Dementia casts off the inhibitions that people can associate with telling stories - the need for traditional narratives with a beginning, middle and end, shaped by memories and memory-based associations. Dementia potentially allows the freer imaginations of Edna, Phyllis, Flora and Nancy to shape the narrative - a collection of responses, made how and when they feel compelled to. Discarding those ideas of traditional narratives, Kate and Claire collect the thoughts and words of the residents of Princess House as they are said, writing them down. The typed out free-flowing text was then recorded as it was read back by the wonderful Edna in such an evocative and dynamic way as to find and indeed create the poetry and depth of the text. Kate and Claire then overlaid the vocal to the sea footage and added the text onto the screen, creating a variety of ways to absorb the artwork.
For the residents of Princess House, it evokes the poetry of the sea in a new way, and brings new responses and thoughts every time it is viewed.