EN PLEIN AIR, a term taken from the act of painting pictures on location, out in the open. Painting en plein air brings a closeness between painter and landscape, the same sun, rain, mist and wind that touches the place touches the canvas. In this film we take this term as our title, we too exposed ourselves to the elements when making this portrait of a day in a Sussex village. We imagined ourselves stripped of all human concerns beyond the present moment and existing in a direct state of reaction to the sensations of our environment. We became human barometers, not predicting the weather but expressing it, our psychological state directly impacted by the light, temperature, atmospheric pressure, land forms, foliage, and moisture. We shot this film over a weekend in October 2020 on what turned out to be the wettest day since records began. It was also the first time we had left Mersea Island since the pandemic had begun. The intense rain, the atmosphere of the village and the experiences of the previous months resulted in a deeply emotional experience of sadness, fear, even terror, but also moments of ecstatic joy and wonder.

EN PLEIN AIR transcript

Part our lips and let us speak
Let us get this out into the open
May the breeze blow in around our teeth
And lift the words from our tongues

A struggle against the wind
Fingers forced into the earth
We exist, we exist
But we forget
A battle rages
But we keep forgetting
Over and over
We forget

The air moves
We retreat to the safety of the dew
To the delicate touch of the morning mist
The air
Fills us
And we breathe as one

A turn to the light
And we see it all clearly
A turn to the dark
And the sun dips out of view
Our souls are stripped bare

Like summer tempests came our tears
Ancient thoughts break the banks
And wash over us
Each moment

Thoughts swarm, flicker and die
Withering in our hands
For a while this world was ours
No more
No more

Will this beauty ever stop?
And the suffering?
How many lives have we lived?
Each time we are born we cry
Over and over the same cry

- Daniel & Clara, October 2021