Mon 30 May 2016 10:05:45 | 1 comments
It has been a testing time of late, having lost all of my film footage due to external hard drive failure. Thankfully, I sent the drive away to see if the data could be retrieved, and I managed to get everything back. Unfortunately, it meant that my editing has been running behind schedule, which has been a frustration.
I recently showed a very, very rough edit of 20 minutes of footage which included a filmed interview with Gwilym Jenkins, mixed with the footage found here http://www.hydrocitizens.com/videos/2520180 (excuse the rather noisy soundtrack towards the end!! I got fiddling with some distortion on my piano track!)
The image of the tiny ruined houses came from a discussion that I had with Gwilym about the effects of planting forestry on the uplands. He spoke about how during the initial plantings of large swathes of land with non-deciduous woodland crops during the post-war period, was done with little thought about ecology, water management etc. He remembers them ploughing large swathes of land, and for the ditches that had channeled the water appropriately over generations, to collapse or become compromised. He says that this might be partly to blame for the way water now moves from the uplands downstream. He described the mountains before the plantations, as being absorbent, as being able to 'take on' the rainfall. Gwilym also touched upon the fact that many of the old farmsteads on the Cambrian mountain range were demolished during this period, and even very recently there has been a semi-derelict farm which held emotional/personal significance for Gwilym and others, flattened on forestry commission owned land.
As a nation, we are used to this level of disregard for our heritage....who gets to chose what is kept, and what holds significance for future generations? The image of the drowned houses has perhaps a symbolic resonance for many Welsh people...with stories of Tryweryn, Nant-y-Moch etc, still very much a part of our collective history and understanding of how we are viewed as a nation outside of Wales. But for me, they connect both to a change in rural habitation in the uplands, give a possible view of a future if flooding becomes a regular phenomenon, and they also connect to the theme of hydro-electricity and how the now defunct woollen industry played an important part in this, and how water, and it's use as a renewable energy source has 'come back around' so to speak.
Edafedd dwr, although in it's very early stages of editing, is hoping to weave these narratives together, with the voices of my participants. Allowing each person time to speak, to get their points across. The past and the future, for me as a rural, farming person, is a non linear thing; woven into the everyday, the present, through tellings and re-tellings, reflections and imaginations. In order to know who we are, where we come from and where we're going, there has to be a look backwards, and a looking forwards. These are not romantic, nostalgic visions of our place in the world, but pragmatic ways to cope with change, and also serve as a way to understand the practical tasks of living and working on a farm. Understanding why we might undertake a task in a certain way, understanding the lay of the land through an informal apprenticeship with the past, and also a vision for our future.