Danielle Dean

16mm tranferred to 2K, stereo sound, 29 mins, 2024
Sound design + mix by Richy Carey

Filming in 16mm with an ensemble of non-actors and family, Hemel blurs fiction and documentary to expand a critical reading of the colonial overtones in the original movie, while recasting its visual language to consider the race, class, and labour dynamics of a small English town in the post-Brexit context. As she excavates recent events, historical archives, and personal histories that have transformed Hemel Hempstead, an encroaching dark flood, a growing shadow, a rising plume of smoke build layers of mystery throughout the work. Rows of identical housing, uniformed workers, and emptied lots signal an eerie tone within the mundane, drawing connections between the post-war ideals of the development corporation that established the town, and the mega-corporations shaping life and industry today.

I worked with Danielle to create the soundtrack for the film, weaving the aesthetic of British 50’s sci-fi sounds through a wonderful musical score by American composer Mason Bynes. We worked at a distnce, Danielle in Los Angeles and myself in Skye, thinking through ways of sonifying the alien protagonists in the film and blurring the fictional and real spaces through sound.

Co-commissioned by Mercer Union, Toronto; Spike Island, Bristol; and The Vega Foundation.