‘The Coat and I have been walking the land collecting ancient stories through its tail, creating a tale. Tales of earth, of water, of fire, of air, stories of animals and birds and plants and stories of the far, far stars. These are strange old tales, they lie in bones, in the dark rocks and in the dampness of the breath of small lizards. These are the stories that many of us have forgotten, stories that we once all knew. I, and the Coat have walked the lands in snow and rain and wind and sun collecting the old stories. The old stories are filling the Coat.’

Coat is an evolving work. It is a story that began to emerge in 2012, it emerged first from a collection of bones, vertebrae of many animals threaded into one long spine and thence to the shape of a coat with a long, long tail. It is a story with an ancient echo, a story of a magical garment, that when worn out in the landscape collects about itself into the warp and weft of its fabric the forgotten stories of the land and its creatures. It continues through many hours of walking the land and through sitting quietly collecting stories in many different environments, countries and islands.

Photos: Christian Kipp, William Kneale, Vicky Vergou


Coat. The Turning and Returning of the Tide

The essence of the Coat emerges as the wearer inhabits the littoral zone and mingles with the stories of the land and its inhabitants. Phrases of the written story are whispered over the images and environmental sounds add depth to what is seen. The land is of high flint filled chalk cliffs and deep caves. The liminal zone of seaweed and pools of water hold many stories that are absorbed into the coat.

Hilary Kneale, Helen Poynor, Vicky Vergou
First shown Decoda Summer Dancing, Coventry University

Screening at Light Moves festival of Screendance Ireland’s Festival on Dance on Film. Limerick 3-6 November 2016.

I went to view ‘Coat. The turning and returning of the tide’, with all the usual rush of everyday life and came out feeling much more physically aware, with my breathing moving more calmly and feeling very content. The sea reminds me of home and the sight/sound had a soothing quality. I had a sense of the spaciousness of time even though the film is short it felt like taking time out. The sounds of the voiceover, the images of the sea and the body moving through the landscape all had a visceral impact on me as a viewer. I notice now when I think about it that I become aware of the back of my body, hands and breath moving in and out. I feel a sensation of excited bubbles in the palms of my hands, and also in the centre of my chest. And I feel more situated in one place.

Dr. Emma Meehan, Research Assistant, Centre for Dance Research (C-DaRE), Coventry University