Immaterial Terrain is a new film made along a seven-mile stretch of the Suffolk coast between Sizewell nuclear power station and the mythic drowned city of Dunwich. Between these two ruinous sites is Minsmere, a popular nature reserve in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Camera in hand, over the duration of a year Richardson repeatedly walked this coastline. These walks – pilgrimages and acts of protest – structure a film that documents a singular and fragile landscape at an uncertain moment. Plans to expand the nuclear power station at Sizewell would have a lasting impact on the environment.
Resolving to look at the locale more carefully and with more appreciative eyes, Immaterial Terrain engages with ideas about energy, transformation, erosion, loss, erasure, memory and forgetting.
The film’s evocative soundtrack sees Richardson working once again with long-time collaborator Chris Watson whose sound recordings have been collaged with music composed in direct response to this unique coastal landscape by Suffolk-born producer LOOM.
Immaterial Terrain is complemented by a series of three podcasts that developed out of long semi-structured interviews by Richardson and writer Jonathan P. Watts with people who live and work in and around Sizewell. Titled Histories and Futures, Isolation and Community, and Destruction and Conservation, they explore the past, present and possible futures of the east coast of Suffolk.
Although Sizewell is home to no more than fifty full-time residents, this isolated place raises some of the most urgent planetary issues of today, including our relationship to natural resources, energy security, conflict, global relations, and large corporate interests in competition with democratic processes.
Immaterial Terrain is an Arts Council England funded project made in collaboration with Jonathan P. Watts, Daniel Timms aka LOOM, Chris Watson and contributors from the Sizewell and Leiston area of Suffolk.