Cobra Mist

  2008 16mm anamorphic

Cobra Mist explores the relationship between the coastal landscape of Orford Ness and its traces of military history, particularly the extraordinary ruined architecture of experimental radar and the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment. Still under the official secrets act, much of what took place on the Ness will only be revealed over time. Military buildings have been left to the elements to deteriorate, creating a tension between the time it will take for their secrets to come out and for the buildings to disappear. The place has a sinister atmosphere, which the architecture itself begins to reveal or hint at in the film. Cobra Mist records the physical traces of the landscape's often secretive past using the photographic medium of 16mm film and timelapse, constructing an impossible experience of the landscape that evokes its history to the camera.

The soundtrack is composed by Benedict Drew from sound recordings of Orford Ness by Chris Watson. Chris made recordings out on the Ness and in various buildings using high-sensitivity microphones to capture sounds such as birds bursting out of the old vents that they are now nesting in, dripping water coming through the open roofs, the gulls alarm calls, the faint whisper of the World Service from the masts in the aerial field and the sound of the sea in the shingle. Watson's recordings captures the unique sonic atmosphere of the place. These recordings were then used by Benedict to compose the soundtrack that conveys the sense of foreboding that is present in this landscape and its architecture.

Cobra Mist was an Animate Projects commission broadcast on Channel 4 in September 2008


Cobra Mist, 16mm anamorphic, 6 min 45 sec, 2008
Director: Emily Richardson
Producer: Animate Projects
Camera: John Adderley
Sound Recordist: Chris Watson
Sound Composer: Benedict Drew
Distributed by LUX Distribution