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Blog Dawn call

The next morning we're back out before daybreak, the intention is to film into dawn – which a little later fills the skies with pink and red; worth getting up for. 

Today we’re working with Jake, another of the Parkour runners from the 10 strong group participating in the project. It’s even colder today and Jake’s line involves him climbing down a metal railing into a yard of garages set below street level – an odd claustrophobic space, walled in all around. 

One of the enjoyable challenges of this project is finding exciting locations along the route of the Great North Run that work both visually and for Parkour.

In the afternoon we drive further out to recce a location for filming in spring, an allotment park located underneath a massive power pylon. Craig and Jake discuss how they might tackle a number of different routes across the allotments; which structures will hold their weight, which section of fence allows what type of move. How their physical tracing of that space can become an embodiment of this site, a different way of describing it through their performance.


 A lot of my work investigates ideas of community and collective experiences, our individual and social selves. When I first got in touch with Craig I had no real idea how they would work as a group and it’s been a real eye opener to see how closely these guys are linked through this practice that is core to their lives. Whenever we’ve been filming one of the runners, another will turn up as support. They discuss and work lines out together, test what’s possible, advise and encourage. Maybe this is one of the characteristics I find impressive about Parkour – the fact that so far it remains largely non-competitive.

The day finishes back at Felling Estate; Craig and Jake are suggesting a particular route over a series of walls. As we film into dusk it starts to snow again and while Jake is leaping over a wall big billowing steam blows out of a heating funnel, backlit by sulphur light.

More than half the material is filmed now; we are roughly at mile 8 of the course. I’ll be back in Newcastle soon for more explorations for the sections ahead; the next filming dates are set for late April…


Winner of our 2013 Moving Image Commission, artist Melanie Manchot will be blogging about making her film, Tracer which features ten North East parkour runners, or traceurs, making their way along the course of the Bupa Great North Run.
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