A Glimpse of Common Territory
A Glimpse of Common Territory is set in and around the National Lift Tower, a 127 meter concrete relic of 20th Century industry in a housing estate in Northampton, England. Placed into this out of sync landscape are two characters from a 19th Century sci-fi novel, ‘The Mummy: A Tale of the Twenty Second Century’ (Jane Webb Loudon, 1827). The film begins with text from the novel, edited to suggest the author thought about the relationship between territory and populations. These words are inter-cut with the spectacle of the tower with it’s privileged position as the city’s highest viewing platform. It’s in one of it’s highest decks that we meet Edmund and Elvira. In the novel they were powerful players in a melodramatic romance set in a technologically innovative but politically divided future England. Here they are having an existential crisis, struggling to comprehend that they are mere characters from a book. They fight for a way to recover agency but the folly of their project is reflected in the folly of the tower itself. In the final act the tower’s vantage point is vastly superseded when the camera sweeps us across the landscape as the characters remain trapped within the film’s loop.