Tender Burial

16mm film transferred to digital, WIP, 2024

An unknown narrator engages with processes of excavating, burying, making and learning in Tender Burial, a 16-mm film-essay-poem. 

The replication of an artefact leads the protagonist to an ancient headland. Here, she practices fieldworking; the blurring and fracturing of disciplinary (archeological and anthropological) boundaries.

The film traces the history of two women, who possibly lived at the same time (around 700BCE) whose remains were excavated in the late 19th and early 20th Century, displaced from their rightful burial grounds and ultimately displayed within museum collections a few miles from one another. Small fragments of their stories are shared and entwined by the narrator, who considers ongoing colonial legacies and questions the politics of replication, extraction, representation and restitution.


Standard 8mm b&w film, transferred to digital, WIP, 2024

Instances of new growth are recorded at a sycamore tree in Tolpuddle, Dorset. The tree is widely considered a symbol of the birthplace of the trade union movement, when in 1833 the tree was used as a meeting point for six local agricultural labourers to discuss low wages and poor living conditions under their employers. Following deportation to Australia, they became known as the 'Tolpuddle Martyrs'. 

The tree is frequently pollarded to reduce weight on its branches and encourage crown growth. It is hoped this will increase the tree's lifespan to two centuries more. 

The film takes its name from one of the marytrs, James Loveless.  


The Blue Hour

The Blue Hour, 16mm 250T film transferred to digital, 00:02:40, 2023-ongoing

The Blue Hour is a 16mm film-poem. Shot across 24 hours, the film assembles footage of the ‘blue hour’ at dawn and found Hi8 footage of the sunset at dusk. Playing with notions of time, cycles and rhythms, the film acts as both a cross-generational and cross-species conversation about land, soil, labour, cultivation, ecological systems and cycles of codependence.


Standard 8mm transferred to digital. 00:06:19, 2022

Shot on standard 8mm film, HOLME documents a lone figure in the forest constructing a geodesic dome, which is subsequently obscured by fern fronds. At once emerging and concealed, the structure is analogous to other domed forms that have populated the forest – ancient earthworks, charcoal piles, brick kilns, bee skeps, benders & hollow concave scars, carved into the earth, from mid-20th century military bombing across Ashley Heath. 

HOLME responded to a period of research and site-specific walking around Godshill Ridge, in the north of the New Forest. Drawing upon the writing of herbalist and author Juliette de Baïracli Levy (1912-2009), who lived in Abbots Well near Frogham in the 1940s, the work considers how complex & interwoven power relations, kinships and histories are embodied within the soil and the sedges.


Supported by 'Time, Space, Money Bursary' from a-n (2022) & Arts University Bournemouth

These Supple Waters

these supple waters, 2-channel 4k video projection, 2019

The estuary is a watery commons, a liquid ecosystem composed of multiple actors, organisms, matter & agencies. It is the undefined area in which the freshwaters of the river are entwined with the saline waters of the coastal environment. Also known as an ecotone, it is a shifting & moving meeting place between two biological communities, which are subject to the influences of tidal flows, wave patterns & the flux of salt & sediment.

these supple waters is a 2-channel video projection that uncovers ecological and industrial entanglements within the Thames and Blackwater estuaries, Essex. Historically, the estuaries in Essex have been used as dumping grounds for the city of London’s waste, resulting in a "toxic cocktail" of refuse material. More recently, many of these sites have ceased taking landfill and have been as declared areas of scientific interest due to their complex toxicity.

The video incorporates footage shot in Southend during a research residency and documentation of a choreographic workshop developed with dance artist Marta Ammendola at Pavilion Dance South West in June 2019. Using material gathered from the residency, such as passages of text, video & field recordings, the work responds to the estuarine landscapes and suggests the slow secretion of a toxic landscape, presenting the body as intermeshed and porous.


Dance artist: Marta Ammendola

DoP: Amy Alicia/ Emily Hawes

Voiceover: Stella Kajombo

Textile work: Sophia Simensky

Supported by: 

The Old Waterworks/ Arts Council England 

The Artists' Information Company (a-n)

Pavilion Dance South West

Arts University Bournemouth

Thank you:

The Old Waterworks

Metal (Southend)

Pavilion Dance South West

Stacey Belbin 

Annie Hill 

Marta Ammendola 

Amy Alicia 

Stella Kajombo

Warren Harper

Sophia Simensky

Commissioned by TOW, 2019

Fertile Image

Fertile Image, 8mm film transferred to digital, 2022-ongoing

Fertile Image is an unfinished and ongoing series of 8mm film works. Unfolding over years (perhaps even decades), left incomplete and in a state of emergence, the project seeks to engage slowly with sacred ancient sites across the UK. 

The first iteration of the film features footage shot at Chanctonbury Ring (South Downs, Sussex) and Mên-an-Tol (West Penwith, Cornwall). Both sites are known for their distinctive spherical forms – the former a prehistoric hill fort and barrow and the latter consists of an upright, circular granite slab, just over one metre high, with a circular hole 46 cm in diameter. Commonly known as a ‘hag-stones’, ‘witch-stones’ and less frequently, ‘adder stones’, such sites are associated with healing powers, sorcery and witchcraft, fertility rituals and occult practices.

Shot on Standard black and white 8mm film and transferred to digital, the footage is split into RGB channels and superimposed to create a mirage-like image, which directly references Ithell Colquhoun’s 1942 painting Sunset Birth.  

Made possible by a 'Time, Space, Money Bursary' from a-n (2022)

Clouded Yellow

16mm transferred to digital, WIP, 2024

Clouded Yellow is a 16mm film immersed in the more-than-human lifeworlds between Portland Bill and Weston, on the Isle of Portland.

Responding to a series of visits to the Portland Bird Observatory and field centre, the film attunes to the rhythms and perspectives of migratory birds, moths and butterflies recorded at the observatory. The structure and pace of the film is determined by fieldwork, sightings and ringings, and follows artist Nancy Holt’s embodied approach, who visited the island in 1969.


Wide Blank Sea

A fin rising on a wide blank sea is a single channel 4K video which re-imagines the historical story of a of a 70ft long, 40 tonne blue whale, that washed ashore in Boscombe (Dorset) in 1897. The story is re-told through the lens of science fiction writer Ursula K le Guin's 1988 short essay The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction and documents the process of rendering a 3D replica fragment of the whale's jawbone. Taking a investigative, yet speculative tone, the video seeks to counteract dominant ocean narratives and whale-based mythologies, instead proposing that traces of more-than-human histories can enable us to reconsider ecological assemblages.

Commissioned by BEAF 2021


Standard 8mm transferred to digital, 2019-present

Shots of fences, barriers, hedges and gates which demarcate boundaries and limits to spaces and places which were once common land are assembled in this short film.

Muscle Memory

Muscle Memory, Slade School of Fine Art Post Graduate Exhibition, UCL, London, 2014


Built with Berta.me

Emily Hawes ©