NOTES ON: REVISITING
Memories are strange things, we often feel like they are relatively clear, that how we remember something is how it happened. We can recount the experience of being in another place at another time, but when we attempt to look at a memory head on and scrutinise the details it all seems to fade away.
When we recall the details of our first visit to the village of Avebury we find that we are seeing it through murky glass, it's hard to unpick the memories from imagination, from the debris accumulated from the many retellings of the story about that significant experience.
It was 2017, we were living in Portugal at the time and were on a two week tour showing our work around the UK. On the last day of the tour we visited Avebury stone circle and as we walked around the standing stones we experienced a kind of revelation, a sudden clarity that we knew that our art and life was ready to move in a new direction: that we needed to move back to the UK and focus our art on the British countryside.
We've told the story many times, it seemed clear what had happened and there was a sense of purpose and continuity to it all but then we started to doubt ourselves – what had really happened? What was it exactly that triggered such a significant artistic and personal change?
We eventually moved to the UK in spring 2019 and that summer we returned to Avebury, Revisiting was filmed during this second visit. We wanted to see how it would feel to be back there, to try and get behind the mystery a little bit but of course the act of retracing one's steps reveals that you can never return to the same place twice. By the time we found ourselves in Avebury again we were not the same people we were before – it seems that as we change the world changes. We like to think of the world around us as being fixed, predictable, reliable, but this rarely seems to be the case.
We didn't have a fixed plan for what kind of film Revisiting would be, we knew it would document the experience of looking again at a place of personal significance, an artistic ritual of returning, but we couldn't have predicted the strangeness of being there: the girl who stood by the side of the road shouting as we entered the village, the sorrowful mooing of cows that kept us awake all night and the fire which burnt our tent. But even describing these strange scenes doesn't get to the heart of it – there was a feeling, a feeling which was stirred up as we approached the stones that seemed to interfere with everything that happened in their vicinity, and even now as we try to put the pieces together they feel hard to grasp.
Revisiting is a document of our visit and an expression of the experience of being there. It is also about the complexity of the human experience and how each moment is built of many layers of memory, emotion, physical and perceptual sensations, and unconscious drives. We are fascinated by all of this, how we humans navigate being in the world, and how through a merging of our inner and outer experiences we participate in the creation of reality and find meaning in our lives. Ultimately life is mystery, it is an ungraspable thing, but no less interesting because of this!
- Daniel & Clara, August 2021