Us Sheep, HD film
Ida is new to Portgruaim and she’s a bit lost.
What are all these strange rules?
Where are the rams?
And what is fitbahh?
But don’t worry Ida!
Nan is here to help, so that one day you too can be a productive ewe.
“The golden rule is follow the flock, and if you can’t do that then you might as well go live with the cows!”
This remote collaboration uses sheep to explore collective identity, productivity, and relationship to land. The costume, character and narrative were driven by materiality, specifically, the properties of Soay and Shetland wool. Sheep were the first agriculturally domesticated animal and yet sheep on the island of Soay are so isolated from humanity that their coats still shed naturally every year. Back on mainland Scotland, Shetland sheep are brought down to the west coast to replace the common sheep with their more profitable wool.
In this short film, Nan from the fictional Portgruaim shows newcomer Ida from Soay the lay of the land. But Ida’s curious nature and persistent questioning pulls at the threads of this tightly knit flock. Can these two find common ground? Join the flock and just see what happens.