We Travel Together is a work that talks about the kinds of relationships that humans might be able to have with a post-natural world.
Some of the creatures in the film are not natural, and some are. But it doesn’t seem important to the young woman. She is neither scared nor repulsed by either.
The film follows a young woman as she moves through a world which ranges from devastated to verdant. It is these the kinds of diverse landscapes that makes up the nature in the contemporary world. Along the way she encounters and connects with a strange little creature, and they travel together for a time.
Nothing in the film tells you where the strange little creatures comes from. Are the creatures introduced to the land? For what reason? Are they an ecological bandaid to replace a missing animal? Have they been genetically engineered? Have they escaped from a lab and are now free?
To be honest, that is because that doesn’t really matter. What matters is the relationship they build together. There is no possibility of a return to original nature, we must build new relationships with the world and the organisms that currently surround us.
Filming this work was a great experience. Peter and I worked with director Rhys Graham and cinematographer Alex Cardy to shoot it. My son Hector came along as the camera assistant and Dennis did all the computer graphics. We shot it after lockdownlockdown, and it was amazing being on the salt lake at 5am 5AM after so many months in our house. I’ll never forget being in the bush when five emus walked by us. We asked Jillian, the actor, to just follow them and Alex grabbed the camera and followed her. I can’t help smiling when I see those emus in the film, they were a total gift from nature.
The song in the middle is a favourite of mine by Cloud Control, who were kind enough to let us use it. To me it’s just how falling in love feels: it’s great but it’s not simple.
My idea for the work was to show a story over time of a relationship between a human and a more than human, artificial animal that is tender. I wanted to show a real connection between the two, depicting a kind of love. It’s also about finding a kind of beauty in the post-natural landscapes, and the way that even in the most devastated places, life will begin to return, if we let it.
This film depicts a kind of love story. And with love, one of the hardest things you sometimes have to do is let someone go. That’s what the woman does. She realises that even this creature, that is human-made, needs it’s own space. I think this is a really important moment because it depicts a person doing something for the sake of another animal rather than for themselves. The woman’s life is better with her strange little companion, but it doesn’t need her. It needs something else. That is what humans find so hard: doing something to make the world better for others when it makes things harder for us. The woman cares enough about the creature to put its interests above her own. That’s what makes her special.