‘And In The Soil, There Be Mirrors’ is a site-responsive dance film by Hollie Miller and Sam Williams set across a selection of historical locations in the English landscape including Waverley Abbey, Coalhouse Fort, Epping Forest and Asylum Chapel.
The work responds not only to the architecture and former life of these sites but also counteracts a heritage version of the landscape with a Gothic and mythological vision. A series of figures whose traits are drawn from nature and English folklore inhabit the site, possessing a sense of the uncanny and discarding the pastoral, nostalgic images of the countryside that people hold on to.
It features performers Tom Heyes, Jia-Yu Corti, Andrew Downes, Temitope Ajose Cutting and Karen Callaghan and a musical score by Craig Scott. This work was generously supported by Arts Council England, Arts Partnership Surrey and Surrey Hills Arts.
You can watch the trailer here:
Hollie Miller and Sam Williams collaborate to create an intriguing new work with an exceptional cast of performers. Gothic elements, birds of prey, anachronistic costuming, curious moving and disquieting sounds haunt and intervene upon ruins, relationships and a rural idyll. Legacies of British counter-cinema linger and unsettle in this disarming new work.
About the artists
Hollie Miller is a performance artist with an interdisciplinary practice and background in contemporary dance. She has performed internationally in the UK, Europe, Finland, Switzerland, Argentina and Japan in contemporary art galleries, museums, land art and performance art festivals. She holds an MA from Royal College of Art (2016) and a BPA from Northern School of Contemporary Dance (2010). She has been awarded artist residencies at: Hogchester Arts (UK), NAIRS Contemporary Art Centre (CH), Serlachius Museum (FI) and La Ira de Dios (AR). Her short films have been shown at feminist film festivals internationally and in 2019 she won The Next Thing Moving Image Award at Bury Art Museum (UK). Exhibitions include: UK Mexican Arts Society, Airspace Gallery, NewBridge Project and Baltic39 Gallery (UK). Select festivals include: MEM Experimental Festival Bilbao (ES), Land Art Biennale Art Safiental (CH), Revolve Performance Art Days (SE), London’s Biennale of International Performance Art & Noise, Apulia Land Art Festival (IL) and 100 Years DADA (JP).
Sam Williams is a visual artist and filmmaker working predominantly in moving image, live performance and collage. His work has taken the form of live performances, durational installations, works on paper and films shown in both cinema and gallery spaces. His research is currently focused on how we can look at multi species entanglements, ecological systems and folk mythologies to produce ideas for future ways of living. Sam currently lives and works in London, where he is a resident artist at Somerset House Studios. He studied MA Sculpture and Moving Image at the Royal College of Art. His first solo show, ‘the actual structure is the material’ took place at Siobhan Davies Dance, London, in 2019. In addition to this his work has been exhibited and screened at institutions such as Outpost (Norwich), Baltic39 (Newcastle), Focal Point (Essex), Jerwood Space, Somerset House, Tate Britain and Sadler’s Wells (London) and Kino Arsenal (Berlin). As part of the audio-visual group Emptyset he has performed internationally and has shown collaborative works with choreographer Rosemary Butcher MBE at The Place (London), Nottingham Contemporary and Akademie der Künste (Berlin).
Shafts of sunlight cut through ruins, catching the surface of bodies whose sinewy, peeling movements lean and ache into space and ground. Incongruous costuming ‑ an armoured glove and a satin dress, a silky worm and a scaly vest - set an unsettling scene. Pairing a brooding sound score with tense, elongated camera, Miller and Williams have created a compelling film that choreographs a strange asynchronous chorus of human and non-human forces.