Week 21 – A River History

This last few days have seen a great deal of activity for Riparian. One of the leading project ambitions – to collect information on river history – has been achieved.

With much help from the Lower Otter Valley Association and the Fairlynch Museum in Budleigh, the project now has a comprehensive review of the history of the river.

The recording took just over an hour and a half to complete and was a relaxed discussion between David (OVA) and Roz (Fairlynch Museum). Together they took me on a journey across the ages, from early prehistory to modern times.

I was fascinated by the information that was collected and learnt many new stories about the history of the local area. Most notably have been the changes to the flow of the river, due to its recent silting up, the number of mills and salt producers along the river and most significantly the shipbuilding industry, which saw ships built at Ottermouth seeing action for King Henry 8th.

I felt that this gave me a new focus for the project and addressed some of my concerns about only creating objective views on the river for an audience.

I was left to realise that, with stories on subjects such as history, interwoven with more subjective and emotive views from the river, that a single audience piece could well work.

I, therefore, decided to produce several short stories on the river history that could be woven into the project. This would allow a large amount of information to be disseminated to the audience, while at the same time keep each piece relatively short and watchable.

In the end, and after some fourteen hours of editing, I ended up with five short stories on the river. How these would be woven into the final exhibition film was still something I was unsure about, but I had decided to set them up in chronological order and number them 1 – 5.

This would then help me decide where and when to include the works. As shown below: