As well as being a film in its own right, Coccolith is part of a practice-based research project exploring how audiovisual practices might represent the experiences of ruined spaces, a collaboration between Dr Christopher Brown at the University of Sussex (director and producer) and Dr Andrew Knight-Hill at the University of Greenwich (sound designer and composer).
The project sought to reflect the fragmented nature of knowledge afforded by the tunnels in their dilapidated state, whilst at the level of process, to develop strategies for facilitating a creative response to the apparently intractable tunnel environment. The project departed from typical film industry production practices in various ways: there was no script; the performances were devised; the production was structured around a concept outline; the conception of the project owed a great deal to site-specific installation practice; sound design was conceived as an integral part of the film directing process.
The researchers have written about the development, contexts, aesthetics, and methods of the project in academic articles:
Christopher Brown, 2020. ‘Installed in chalk: mapping screen performance in Coccolith (2018)’, in Performance Matters (Volume 6, Issue 1). Special Issue: 'Copresence with the camera'. The article discusses the film’s approach to screen performance in terms of a creative remapping of the tunnels, designed to critique the spatial foundations of wartime nostalgia and national mythmaking. CLICK HERE to access.
Christopher Brown & Andrew Knight-Hill, 2019. ‘Stories of a ruined space: filmic and sonic approaches to practice-as-research’, in Media Practice and Education (Volume 19, Issue 3). Special issue by the Filmmaking Research Network: ‘Filmmaking in the Academy’. The article explored how the project sought to reconfigure the relationship between film and sound practice. CLICK HERE to access.
Andrew Knight-Hill, 2019. ‘Sonic Diegesis: Reality and the Expressive Potential of Sound in Narrative Film’ in Quarterly Review of Film & Video (Volume 36, Issue 7). The article challenges the notion of ‘non-diegetic’ film sound as being a fallacy, using Coccolith as a case study in which these ideas are creatively tested. CLICK HERE to access.
screenings & talks
The film premiered at the Greenwich Picturehouse in London in November 2018, preceded by a talk in which Christopher Brown and Andrew Knight-Hill discussed the concepts behind the film and its development. The audience comprised academics and students working in creative practice disciplines, as well as members of the public.
The film next screened at the conference Mapping Spaces, Sounding Places: Geographies of Sound in Audiovisual Media at the University of Pavia, Cremona in March 2019; the screening at the Teatro Monteverdi was preceded by a talk by the filmmakers.
The film screened in an exhibition at the Musikkens Hus in Aalborg, Denmark, as part of the conference RE:SOUND - Sound, Media and Art: Theories, Histories, Practices, held at Aalborg University in August 2019. The filmmakers also delivered an academic paper about the film at the university's CREATE (Department of Architecture, Design, and Media Technology) campus in Aalborg.
In September 2019 the film screened at the conference Music and Sound Design for the Screen, held at Maynooth University in Ireland. The filmmakers also delivered an academic paper about the project entitled 'Stories of a ruined space: filmic and sonic approaches to practice-as-research'.