Echo-Maker animation still, artist Sean Harris

Visual artist, animator and film-maker Sean Harris is takes up the Cranes and Communities commission running through 2016 in partnership with The Great Crane Project

Cranes and Communities Animation and Landscape Project

Echo-Maker has been devised by artist and film maker Sean Harris, working in collaboration with Somerset Art Works and the Great Crane Project. It takes its title from the English translation of ‘Baswenaazhi’, the Ojibwe Indian crane clan, which refers to the piercing call of this charismatic and archetypal bird, audible once more in our own landscape as at dusk it rebounds around West Sedgemoor, preferred winter roost of Somerset’s reintroduced crane population.

The project constitutes a response to a year spent exploring both the landscape and rural communities past and present of the Somerset Levels and Moors – and, not least, becoming acquainted with the cranes themselves, now re-established after a centuries-long absence.

Using moving image and sound as core components, Echo-Maker presents narratives of time, change, adaptability and resilience. Through the adoption of twenty-first century media, it seeks to amplify deeper seated and already-present senses of both joy in being a part of the land and respect for it as a precious – and finite – entity that may yet be irreversibly damaged.

For latest news see the project blog:

The chorus for Echo-Maker, made in the stunning wetland landscape of the Somerset Levels as part of the Cranes and Communities project; a collaboration between Sean Harris, Jim Brook and community groups, undertaken as part of a commission from Somerset Art Works with The Great Crane Project.



In this film extract the voice track has been created by local people reading a very short excerpt from Aldo Leopold’s haunting ‘Marshland Elegy’. The cranes you see have each been brought to life by school groups and community members through a stop frame animation workshops with Sean Harris.

See all the Echo-Maker films:
Lost Land
Black Earth

The Echo-Maker; an ephemeral contraption of steel, wood and light, generating shadows and echoes both visual and sonic. An animation machine, it holds a lens to the land and its occupants past, present and future. Microscope, macro-scope and mirror, the Echo-Maker observes, absorbs, stores and projects, presenting a vision of what was, is and might be…

Review of ‘Echo-Maker Lost Land’ at Thorney Lakes by SAW Blogger in Residence Davina Jelley, click link below.

Sean Harris
Sean Harris’ practice is concerned with finding the means to present work about the landscape within the landscape; in developing the means to embed moving image artworks, digital and analogue, in ‘the wilderness’. That is to say, in woods, next to rivers, on hilltops, in caves; in surprising or unlikely settings within the natural environment so as to create direct relationships between place and the creative response to it.

Seans’ work is concerned with exploring landscapes and their associated heritage, natural and cultural, thereby attempting to distil ‘sense of place’ into film – and, importantly, engaging communities with the process so that they may contemplate, more fully understand and ultimately find pride in the treasures of which they are custodians.

The 7 metre long mobile projection rig comprises of multiple gauze screens to create mesmerising visual ‘echos’. This can be transported and assembled anywhere, meaning that the Echo-Maker film can be shown next to the river, in a village hall, museum, gallery, anywhere.

‘Cranes and Communities’ is funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Arts Council England and The Ernest Cook Trust. Schools engagement is delivered through the InspirED arts education network.