Landscape as transitional space in film practice

  • Sarah Bowen

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Walking Albion is the 38-minute stop-motion film at the centre of this thesis. The film and accompanying written text seek to establish the symbolic function of a particular camera movement across cinematic landscape. Inspired by the 'anima-photography’ methods of the earliest moving images, the film is composed from over 27,000 still photographs that were taken on a 550-mile walk between Cornwall and Norfolk. Screened at 12 frames per second, these animated photographs form the film’s temporal and spatial diegesis where the journey is represented over the same length of time as the breaking dawn along the same route on the day the walk began.

Movement through landscape is experienced differently by the filmmaker, the spectator and within the film’s morphology. This thesis addresses the questions that arise from these differences through the notion of ‘the gaze’.

The first chapter focuses on walking and landscape and the difference between the representational and presentational artefact. The historical contexts of landscape and the moving image are established as the emergence of the railway and a ‘shattering’ of the connection to time and land.

The second chapter determines the theoretical contexts for an investigation of movement across cinematic landscape, concluding that motion across the x-axis of cinematic space has become a specific trope that both represents and produces a moment of suspension in which a sense of self and other may be renegotiated. Konigsberg’s alignment of Winnicott’s ‘transitional space’ to ‘the gaze’ extends the trope’s function from within a film’s morphology to include the filmmaker and the film spectator’s experience.

Through movement across cinematic landscape, Walking Albion, enacts the transitional spaces of ‘the gaze’ for the purpose of analysis. The final part of the thesis considers the film against the interdisciplinary theories of the previous chapter, establishing through its practice-based inquiry, the form and function of a cinematic trope and its original contribution to film and landscape studies.

Please be aware that the presentation and the quality is not that of the original DVDs.
Date of Award2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Brighton
Supervisor Dr D Rahtz (Supervisor)

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