Barbara Nicholls + Matt Hale


DAM (2021)


We filmed DAM on weekly all day walks during January 2021. The dam in the film is both a literal barrier holding back tons of water collected for human consumption and a metaphor for the pressure of a potential catastrophe — unnamed.

We were staying in the Peak District and could easily reach the hills on foot. The weather varied from ice and snow to warm, wet weather with much mud underfoot. There had been a lot of rain in the last six months and we regularly slid our way up to the top of the local peaks. This was a great release from the claustrophobia of Covid 19 lockdown.

The highest peak, Shining Tor at 1,834 feet was a windy frozen place. As we climbed, water was everywhere running off the hills out of springs, small streams, under ice, out of pipes and on into rivers. Some ran into the Lamaload Reservoir and then out through its concrete dam, the highest in the UK, into the river Dean. We had a growing sense of a rising pressure as the water table rose underneath us. We took great pleasure in the gravitational pull on all this liquid once it reached the surface. The potential of serious flooding was ever present but countered by the beauty of the nature surrounding us.

Barbara Nicholls   @barbara_nicholls

Matt Hale   @matthale7122