Green Lands

by Patrick Flannery Walker
website - instagram  - vimeo

Artist Patrick walked London looking for green shoots between the cracks. From suburban areas, through parks and into the inner density of the city, he documents nature’s incredible ability to thrive in built-up environments. Patrick recorded his exploration not just through the lens of his camera, but also through the act of pushing his film and prints directly beneath the soil, having nature collaboratively imprint upon his work. 

Patrick’s walks led him to the London allotments, where he met with those working and connecting with nature within the city. Patrick’s film, Soil Rises, captures the allotment of Cleve West and the nature flourishing there. Patrick’s film is not only an exploration of nature’s place within the city, but also a profound illustration of the pleasure and well-being it offers to the humans that respect and collaborate with it. As we dig, a chemical reaction is produced that affects us positively; our souls are uplifted by the relationship. This amplified frequency that nature offers might be the key to our collective understanding of the importance of nature, its care and protection.

Creative Proposition: Soil Rises

Super 8 film to HD video / Colour, 3:2 / 6 minutes 5 seconds
Featuring Cleve West / Music by Bats Yeller

The short film and project that I am presenting is a study of the positive effects green spaces can have on human wellbeing and our planet’s ecosystem and health. The work began with a series of investigations to observe green spaces across the centre of London and then its outer regions. I explored parks and community gardens; ventured along the riverbanks and derelict sites where nature had taken control. Along my journey, I documented the fabric of the city and suburbia and concluded at the traditionalcommunity-driven projects known as allotments.

I focused on a site that dates back to 1896 called Bushy Park Allotments. Writer, garden designer and general nature enthusiast Cleve West tends a plot with his wife, Christine. They allowed me to spend two days observing the work done during the spring season: preparing beds, planting, harvesting and enjoying the trees and wildlife that share their space. I documented this experience through the lens of an 8mm film camera that was first marketed in 1967.

My first visit was mid-way through April. Cleve spent his time watering, planting chives and harvesting batches of broccoli and cauliflower. Various birds glided through the natural habitat feasting on the berries and bugs. On my second visit on a sunny day at the tail end of May, their plot had come to life. Rainy days and late spring sunshine had turned their plot into a wilderness. Erratic bees zipped around the plants and trees seeking food from the blossoming flowers. Cleve moved through the allotment without cutting back the mass of growth to allow the wildlife to flourish and be at peace. 

During the same period, I travelled on the South West train service. I peered through the glass windows in searchof allotments. Once spotted, I ventured through the streetsand alleyways until I arrived at the sites. I pressed the shutter release, allowing the green spaces to pass through the camera and expose their life onto the colour film.