Headlands Lookout is a film centred on a dramatic stretch of Pacific coastline at the entrance to San Francisco Bay.
The film traverses the area’s cultural and natural landscape, exploring and documenting a ‘wild’ landscape mediated by human activity. From hills shrouded in atmospheric fog to singular details of place, the film presents literal and figurative echoes of the area's history, as both a strategic military base and the home to the avant-garde artists, writers and activists of the post-war ‘San Francisco Renaissance’.
Locations range from the concrete architecture of gun emplacements and Cold War missile sites to the dense woodland valley where nature is slowly reclaiming the derelict buildings of Druid Heights, a 1960s counterculture community, which is also home to the long-abandoned, circular library of Zen philosopher Alan Watts.
The film soundtrack features archive recordings of Alan Watts, and his ideas on ecology and society, alongside poetry by former Druid Heights residents Gary Snyder and Elsa Gidlow, and Bay Area poet Michael McClure.
The film is punctuated throughout by contemporary call records to the Marin County Sheriff, reflecting the community's day-to-day life and recreational activity, set against a backdrop of ever-present nature and delineated landscapes.
Commissioned by Headlands Center for the Arts