‘In the snow, high up in the wilds of the mountains. Mist hangs densely. It is raining, and nearly dark. Brand, dressed in black, with pack and staff, is struggling towards the west’.
From Brand, Act 1 (Henrik Ibsen, 1865).
The moving image ‘Brand’ investigates how landscape is used as metaphors in Ibsen’s verse drama, in particular in Act 1 and 5.
As ‘Brand’ takes place outdoors in harsh symbolic landscapes, the drama in the moving image is unfolding purely within its setting, or ‘set-design’ of nature in order to reinforce the narrative.
Brand crosses frozen lakes that are treacherous. He makes choices of crossing the landscape, making journeys that are dangerous and surviving the passages, portrays a person that is breaking metaphoric ice. Ice, frost and darkness are part of the landscape in ‘Brand’, apart from some sudden bursts of sunshine, warmth and melting ice.
The moving image features ‘sound studies’ for each act; one of wind, one of ice, one of a vast landscape, one of avalanches and one more musical act where the Ice-Church is featured. The sound reinforces the narrative aspect of the drama through a subsequent use of audio explorations.
Verticals in the landscape provided a foundation when developing the script for the moving landscape play. Searching for ascents and descents in the text provided a framework to further develop a spatial representation.
The investigation of the landscape is explored as imaginary characters. The wide ‘epic’ landscapes where possible crossroads appear as well as enclosed spaces where dangers are present were main areas for starting the search of human presence within metaphorical landscapes.