Installed in Chalk: Mapping Screen Performance in Coccolith (2018)


This article explores the mapping of screen performance in Coccolith (2018), a film directed and produced by the author that was shot in the Ramsgate tunnels in Kent, UK. When working on the project, the filmmakers sought to develop structures for performance and visualization practices that responded to the unique attributes of the tunnel environment. A critical practice of this type felt necessary, given that the Ramsgate tunnels otherwise risk permanent affiliation with nationalism and wartime mythology. Coccolith sought to critique, at a localized level, the spatial foundations of national mythmaking by creatively remapping the Ramsgate tunnels in a manner which enabled the actors to affectively respond to the site. I argue that this process can be understood as a form of tender mapping, a concept derived from Bruno (2002), and which I sought to articulate as an approach to film practice. Site-specific approaches were particularly resonant when developing the project, as the affective qualities of the drama emerge from the manner in which the actors were installed within the location itself. The article considers how the actors mapped their characters’ emotions in relation to the features of the site, and secondly, how the cinematography assisted in constructing a space in which their journeys could unfold. I suggest that conceiving a creative research project in terms of mapping enables us to reconsider how the directing of screen performance, as a process, might be attuned to the features of a specific environment and its history.


Author Biography

Christopher Brown, University of Sussex

Christopher Brown is a Senior Lecturer in Filmmaking at the University of Sussex, and a writer and director whose work has screened internationally. Following festival screenings, his psychological thriller Remission (2014) has been distributed by Peccadillo Pictures. His experimental comedy Soap (2015) screened at the Vancouver International Film Festival and won an honorable mention at the New Jersey International Film Festival. As a screenwriter, Chris’s awards include best unproduced screenplay at the 2013 London Independent Film Festival for his feature script Knock-Out. As a researcher his articles have appeared in journals such as The Quarterly Review of Film & Video, Asian Cinema, Film Criticism, Media Practice & Education and Senses of Cinema. He is currently preparing a project about recent Taiwanese cinema.

Devised Filmmaking Practices