Feet in Water, Head on Fire
Terra Long

2K Video – DCP, Stereo, 90 mins, 2023
Sound design and mix by Richy Carey

Along the San Andreas fault line in Southern California, Indigenous palm trees and date palms imported from West Asia flourish. The people who tend to them reflect a landscape of frictions and affections shaped over generations by agriculture, luxury real estate, and border politics. Like the infinity storytelling of The 1001 Nights, stories fold into dreams and back into stories, a constellation of voices settle over mountains and into the earth. Intertwining color 16mm with textural black and white film hand processed with the dates leftover from harvest and plants native to the valley Feet in Water, Head on Fire is a sensory, polyvocal evocation of place. 

I was in correspondence with Terra for a number of years as she developed the film, returning again and again to film, and we shared strategies and ideas for capturing oblique sounds of the environment, focusing particularly on the sounds that illustrate what is happening outside of the frame. Terra created a soundscape with editor Kaija Siirala, which I then worked up into a richer soundtrack that sought to aplify the connections between the land, the water that flows underfoot, and the people who live there . We worked remotely for the most part, with Terra flying to Skye from her home in Vancouver to work on the final design and mix of the work.