PRANTICK NARAYAN BASU

Rang Mahal / Palace of Colours
26:30 mins (2019)          

Selected by Project 88, Mumbai

In Prantik Narayan Basu’s film Rang Mahal / Palace of Colours (2019) the artist collaborates with the Santhal tribe in North-West India, and turns into a storyteller narrating both the mythical and the mundane, and the ways in which this tribal community intimately relate to their landscape.

Until recent years, the Santhal tribe of India did not have their own written language. Their stories and myths were preserved and passed on verbally through the generations. Each narration has a different form, much like the rocks of a nearby hill that come in various hues.


Artist Q&A

Where are you from and how did you become interested in moving image work?
I am from Kolkata, India. Films and moving images are something that I have always been drawn to. I loved telling stories as a child and would always visualise the short stories and poems from my school curriculum, and envision them as films in my head. While doing my BA in English Literature, I wrote the script for a short film and directed it with the help of a few friends back in 2007. The same year, I gave the entrance exam for the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune, and got into its Direction department.

What inspired/influenced you to make the work?
For the past few years, my filmmaking has been closely associated with the interpretation of folklore from different Indian regions. I find it fascinating how these primitive tales are often progressive in nature. They work as a time capsule, offering access to our rich anecdotal history that is often lost in translation. While I was collaborating with the Santal community for another film, I read various versions of their Creation myths. They intrigued me to ruminate upon the unique correlation between nature and culture, and the landscape they originate from.

What are you working on at the moment?
Presently I am working on a short film, besides developing my first fiction feature film that I plan to shoot next year.

Prantik Narayan Basu politics of gender and the fragile relation between the nature and the humans. His short film SAKHISONA (2017) won a Tiger Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), was screened at BFI London Film Festival, Image Forum Festival in Tokyo, and the Mumbai International Film Festival, where it won the Best Short Film Prize. His short documentary film PALACE OF COLOURS (2019) premiered at Berlinale, where it was nominated for the Golden Bear for Best Short Film. His latest mid-length documentary film BELA premiered at Visions du Réel, Nyon, and IFFR in 2021, and has been acquired by MUBI. He is presently working on his first fiction feature film DENGUE, with support from the Hubert Bals Fund from IFFR and the Patrick & Joan Leigh Fermor PJLF Arts Fund.

RUTH MACLENNAN

Treeline (2021) 17:51 mins

Selected by Whitechapel Gallery, London

Treeline (2021) is a collectively made film sourced from hundreds of hours of footage of forests submitted by people across the world. From a patchwork of disparate individual contributions (sent in by scientists, ecologists, artists and members of the public alike), Ruth Maclennan traces a sinuous green line that stretches from the wild woods of North America to the rainforests of the Amazon to the copses of middle England and the scrublands of Africa, as well as myriad places in-between.

Resembling a continuous horizontal travelling shot, Maclennan's infinite panorama of trees is a vivid reminder of the swathes of green that continue to encircle and nourish the planet, and a powerful emblem of the shared resources and shared futures that bind people together. A paean to the beauty and majesty of trees, Treeline also echoes something of their form – putting out exploratory feelers, and drawing material from multiple places to create an enveloping, overarching structure that is so much more than the sum of its parts.


Artist Q & A

Where are you from and how did you become interested in moving image work?

I grew up in London but thanks to my American and Scottish parents I spent memorable parts of my childhood climbing hills and mountains in New Hampshire and Scotland. I studied modern languages and once, a BBC cameraman in Moscow leant me a video camera to take on an ethnographic expedition to Western Siberia. My interest deepened while studying at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin, where I became enthralled by Bruce Naumann’s videos and grainy VHS recordings of Pina Bausch, and then with the philosophical and mystical possibilities of Tarkovsky’s Solaris and the invention of Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera.  Moving images have become part of the contemporary human condition, informing the collective imaginary and material world. I continue to be fascinated by the ways the tools for making them help me observe, understand, and interpret the world as well as conjure alternative possibilities.   

What inspired/influenced you to make the work?

The restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic, the spread of wildfires around the world and the ethical imperative to reduce the carbon footprint of film-making were important factors in my conceiving Treeline.  I was approached by Film and Video Umbrella (FVU) and Forestry England (FE) to develop a film project about forests to launch online during COP26.  At the time I was making a series of short landscape films, Horizon, for The Crown Letter, which inspired the form and open call to contribute footage.   From this starting point, Treeline was set in motion and it evolved through the many conversations I had with the curators, and with foresters, scientists, artists, and other contributors. 

The idea for Treeline was not to have an aerial view from afar of the impacts of climate change on forests, but instead, to follow the gaze of individuals at home in their own forests. Trees and forests grow and spread in the ground, and I wanted to see and feel views from the ground and stitch them together to create a ‘nature corridor’ encircling the planet. I wanted to enable anyone to take part, to share their delight at a particular wood, their deep knowledge, or their shock or anger at what was happening to the trees they lived and worked worth.

Treeline refers to the treeline boundary in nature that varies with altitude, latitude, and temperature. As temperatures and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations rise, treelines are moving. The treeline also suggests lines that humans draw: such as clear-cutting in the Amazon and the destruction of forests for building cities and infrastructure. Also, treelines are visible in the rows of planted trees and the manmade edges of forests and woods. The film draws attention to the immense labour, care and hope involved in planting and tending trees.

What are you working on at the moment?

I recently completed the film A Forest Tale, shot last winter in the sub-arctic boreal forests of Russia, about living in forests and how trees are the matter and environment of stories and lives, incarnate in the houses, tools, artefacts, food and heat. I’m currently researching similar themes in a new film about forest environments in the Highlands of Scotland. I am also developing a new activist film project using similar distributive methods as Treeline.

Short biography

Ruth Maclennan (b. London 1969) is an artist and writer. Her work includes films, multi-channel moving image works, photographs, performances, and writing. Her recent films examine how the climate emergency has irrevocably transformed ways of seeing and understanding landscape and place – both for inhabitants, and as representation.

Maclennan exhibits widely internationally. Since April 2020 she has contributed to the international collective, The Crown Letter, http://crownproject.art/ruth-maclennan/. She is known for her films set in post-Soviet countries, including Call of North, Hero City and Cloudberries, filmed in Arctic Russia (London International Film Festival), Theodosia filmed in Crimea a year before its annexation by Russia (with a Joanna Drew Travel Award), and Capital and Anarcadia filmed in Kazakhstan. Exhibitions include Icebreaker Dreaming (solo, Pushkin House), Anarcadia, (solo, FVU/John Hansard Gallery), Terrapolis, (French School, Athens), State of Mind (London School of Economics), The Body. The Ruin. (Ian Potter Museum, Melbourne). She has a PhD from the Royal College of Art and is Institute Associate at Scott Polar Institute, University of Cambridge. Her films are distributed by LUX https://lux.org.uk/artist/ruth-maclennan.  

EMILIJA ŠKARNULYTÉ

Aphotic Zone (2022) 15 mins

Selected by Contemporary Art Centre (CAC), Vilnius

A cinematic journey across space and time, Emilija Škarnulytė’s film Aphotic Zone peers back from the future through dark oceans to witness the threats of climate crisis and economic extractivism; the idealistic prospects of science; and the catastrophic consequences of human greed.

Luminous sea jellies beam over choirs of fish as we travel 4km deep past the Pacific seamounts off Costa Rica to reach the pitch black ‘aphotic’ zone of the sea.

At the bottom, an ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) drawn from documentary footage carefully samples deep sea corals with robotic arms until it passes into the digital imaginary of a sharply risen ocean. There, the Duga radar (a Soviet-era missile defense system near Chernobyl) is an undersea ruin far beneath the waves. Both documentary and suggestive of dreaming, the film moves through a landscape of prehistoric life and advanced technology.

­Mixed by Oscar-winning sound engineers Jaime Baksht and Michelle Couttolenc, the film’s soundtrack is drawn from a field recording made in Mexico City’s Zócalo on the 500th anniversary of Spain’s conquest of Tenochtitlan. Ecological devastation echoes colonial destruction and the street sounds of Mexico City become a ghost warning us of the cataclysms yet to come.


Emilija Škarnulytė (b. Vilnius, Lithuania 1987) is an artist and filmmaker.

Working between documentary and the imaginary, Škarnulytė makes films and immersive installations exploring deep time and invisible structures, from the cosmic and geologic to the ecological and political. Her blind grandmother gently touches the weathered statue of a Soviet dictator. Neutrino detectors and particular colliders measure the cosmos with otherworldly architecture. Post-human species swim through submarine tunnels above the Arctic Circle and crawl through tectonic fault lines in the Middle Eastern desert.

Winner of the 2019 Future Generation Art Prize, Škarnulytė represented Lithuania at the XXII Triennale di Milano and was included in the Baltic Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Biennale of Architecture. With solo exhibitions at Tate Modern (2021), Kunsthaus Pasquart (2021), Den Frie (2021), National Gallery of Art in Vilnius (2021), Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius (2015) and Kunstlerhaus Bethanien (2017), she has participated in group shows at Ballroom Marfa, Seoul Museum of Art, Kadist Foundation, and the First Riga Biennial.  In 2022, Škarnulytė participated in the group exhibition Penumbra organized by Fondazione In Between Art Film on the occasion of the 59th Venice Biennale.

Her films are in the IFA, Kadist Foundation and Centre Pompidou collections and have been screened at the Serpentine Gallery, London: Centre Pompidou, Paris: Museum of Modern Art, New York and in numerous film festivals including in Rotterdam, Busan, and Oberhausen. She is a founder and currently co-directs Polar Film Lab, a collective for analogue film practice located in Tromsø, Norway and is a member of artist duo New Mineral Collective, recently commissioned for a new work by the First Toronto Biennial.

Her most recent monograph Sirenomelia (2021) is currently available from Sternberg Press.

For more information on Emilija Škarnulytė click here

EWELINA JAROSZ & JUSTYNA GÓROWSKA

Cyber Wedding to the Brine Shrimp (2021)

12:03 mins

Selected by Museum of Modern Art Warsaw

In Cyber Wedding to the Brine Shrimpcyber-nympho artist-brides, Ewelina Jarosz and Justyna Górowska have married the brine shrimp. The brides encourage others to love, honor and cherish the resilient brine shrimp and learn about the perils they and their ecosystem face.

The vows to the brine shrimp of the Great Salt Lake were made on the Rozel Point peninsula near the “Spiral Jetty” (1970), a land art work by Robert Smithson.

The digital ecosexual ceremony was the first more-than-human wedding event in the world using Augmented Reality to create the brine shrimp brides/grooms out of digital air. Every person using an Android smartphone is able to enjoy being in digital nature and explore the posthuman community in augmented reality thanks to Artemia App.

Cyber Wedding to the Brine Shrimp is inspired by the ecosexual weddings by Annie Sprinkle & Beth Stephens.

Art Director and AR specialist -WetMeWild (Justyna Górowska)

Conceptual Director - Ewelina Jarosz

Director of the performance - Joy Brooke Fairfield

Ecosexual performance consultants - Annie Sprinkle, Beth Stephens

Cinematographer - James McAllister

Sound recording - Chris Lippard

Costumes: Martyna Koltun 


Justyna Górowska (WetMeWild)
Hydrofeminist ecosexual artist and collaborator in the interdisciplinary projects, including art, technology, and social activism. Through performative and interactive experiences of advanced technologies and digital art her projects raise awareness of societal and environmental collapse. Born in 1988, she is based in Skawa in the Western Beskid mountains of Poland. She received her PhD from the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Studies, University of Arts in Poznan. Her projects were presented i.a. in Berlin (Freies Museum, 2009), Quebec City (Le Lieu Gallery, 2014), Jakarta (National Gallery of Indonesia, 2016), Warsaw (Museum of Modern Art, 2017), and New York (Art in General, 2017).

Ewelina Jarosz (underwateractivist)
Hydrosexual scholar/performative artist and collaborator in the interdisciplinary projects on environmental art. Her current research interests include blue humanities, blue media, and environmental art. She is an assistant professor at the Department of Media and Cultural Research at the Pedagogical University of KEN in Krakow, and the author of the forthcoming book on American art “Ponowoczesny model recepcji malarstwa barwnego pola” (Polish Institute of World Art Studies/TAKO, Warsaw-Torun 2021). She lectured at the American Studies Center of the University of Warsaw (ASC), the University of Arts in Poznan, and the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk. Two-time scholarship recipient of the Kościuszko Foundation Scholarship (2010/11 and 2021). In 2011 awarded with The Clifford and Mary Corbridge Trust Scholarship.

ANCA BENERA & ARNOLD ESTEFAN

No Shelter from the Storm (2015)

05:42 mins

Selected by Collection Video-Forum, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k)

In Anca Benera and Arnold Estefan’s film No Shelter From The Storm two young people climb a mountainous terrain of destroyed forests, whistling the tune of Where Have All the Flowers Gone?, an anti-war protest song from the 1960s.

The video was shot in one of the last primeval forests in Europe, at the borderlands with Ukraine. This region on the Romanian-Ukrainian border is not only important for ecological reasons, but also politically, historically, and militarily significant.

Whistled against the backdrop of devastating mountainsides, the international anti-war melody becomes an appeal against military conflict, global exploitation, and environmental destruction.

The film was a commissioned work for the School of Kyiv Biennial (2015), created within the context of the political crisis around Crimea and the starting point of the armed conflict in the Donbas region.


Artist Q&A

Arnold Estefan & Anca Benera courtesy the artists

Arnold Estefan & Anca Benera courtesy the artists

Where are you from and how did you become interested in moving image work? Most of our works are rooted in the geopolitical context where we come from, Romania, historically situated at the peripheries of empires. Our first works were performances in which the camera was a witness. Since then, we often choose to work with moving images because of their time-based specifics and capacity to juxtapose multiple layers that create a single narrative.

What inspired/influenced you to make the work?

It was a commissioned work for the School of Kyiv Biennial in 2015, created within the context of the political crisis around Crimea and the starting point of the armed conflict in the Donbas region. The spark that incited the work was the history behind the anti-war song Where have all the flowers gone? In fact, the lyrics of this American tune originated in the Ukrainian Cossack folk song Koloda Duda, from the novel The Quiet Don, written by Mikhail Sholokhov. Another inspiring moment was the unexpected discovery of a collection of tree leaves from the Carpathian mountains, that Arnold's father had collected in the 1950s. Those trees no longer exist today, because the forests disappeared.

What are you working on at the moment?

We are doing research on the Black Sea, a zone that has always attracted economic attention and generated interest among both regional and non-regional forces. This is the place where one of the recent projects is situated. It will be a multichannel video installation that interconnects a number of distinct geographies and industries, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea, that share a common mineral: the diamond. The history of diamond mining is closely related to the colonial times of German South West Africa but those land resources in todays' Namibia, are slowly depleting, and the ocean became the next mining frontier. One of the first custom-made diamond recovery vessels is constructed in a Romanian shipyard at the Black Sea coast. In the film, the diamond comes to represent a symbolic frontier of human and technological relations to the landscape.

Anca Benera (*1977 in Constanta / Romania) and Arnold Estefan (*1978 in Targu-Secuiesc / Romania), are based in Vienna and Bucharest. Their work comprises installations, videos, and performances. The artist duo is interested in the structures hidden behind historical, social, and geopolitical narratives and the military and political impact on the environment.

Their works have been shown in exhibitions and biennials including Potential Worlds, Migros Museum, Zurich (2021); Natural Histories. Traces of the Political, mumok Vienna (2017); Sounds and Sites, The Jewish Museum, New York (2016); Global Control and Censorship, ZKM, Karlsruhe (2016); Der Brancusi Effekt, Kunsthalle Wien (2015); Mum, am I barbarian? 13th Istanbul Biennial, (2013); and Intense Proximity, La Triennale, Palais de Tokyo, Paris/France (2012).

PHUMULANI NTULI

Cloud Migration (2021)

04:19 mins

Selected by The Bag Factory Artists' Studios, Johannesburg.

Cloud Migration addresses the movement of archival objects and artistic artefacts which have been digitised and placed in a computing environment.

The film animates Phumulani Ntuli’s engagement with the Voortrekker Monument archive consisting of landscape prints, juxtaposing these digitised archival prints with the Irish born South African photographer Alfred Duggan Cronin’s digitised series of ethnographic images of Cronin’s travels documenting southern African tribes in the early twentieth century.

The film animates a privatised history, transfers privatised digital images and makes them public and points to the contemporary representation of filters, clouds as storage, landscape as fiction prevalent within social media and image-making technologies.

Ntuli’s work figures around fictional geographies, simulation, archives, and representation. He explores these concerns through a collision between documentary and fiction using collages, performance, and video installation. Through these concerns, he questions the format of lens-based media in telling historical events and situations within geopolitical imaginaries.


Artist Q&A

Where are you from and how did you become interested in moving image work?

My work has two converging aspects. There is the research component, part of which deals with video making and performance practice. I came into video performance by documenting my performances. And I thought of using video documentation as a kind of work. The material became work in progress because the reception of performances is normally ephemeral. So I started that as research into performance and video. Then there is the collage work which is mostly studio-based. The difference between them is working with the public space (collaborative) and working in the studio. I kind of work between those spheres so I could imagine my work even outside of the studio. Then within the city, I am interested in archiving the city and creating visual narratives within this lens.

I am also fascinated by photographic images. For example, I did one project in 2009 which figured around the evictions that happened in the city of Johannesburg during the xenophobic attacks and ongoing gentrification. It was a response to reimagining the evictions and bodies not really belonging in a particular space. But it was an abstract rendition of it all. Fortunately, the conception of the work is called Mjondolo. Mjondolo is a shack. I was thinking about the ideas of architecture and the body. I made costumes that people can embody, and wear. I asked performers to take part in the performance, to perform these architectures.

What inspired/influenced you to make the work?

I am showing two stop motion films, titled Cloud Migration. The film began with an engagement of the Voortrekker Monument archive consisting of landscape prints, my intervention included juxtaposing the prints with the Alfred Duggan Cronin series of ethnographic images, these images document southern African tribes. The works point to the contemporary representation of filters, clouds as storage, landscape as fiction prevalent within social media and image-making technologies.

What are you working on at the moment?

At the moment I am working on an Augmented Reality (AR) App. The purpose of this app is to archive my work within the digital space such as the NFT. It serves as a possibility of extending my work in relation to juxtaposing it with two dimensional artworks. I am interested in interactive film making practices, where moving images are performed by audiences, which disrupts the everyday usage of engaging with visual apparatuses.

Phumulani Ntuli (South Africa, 1986) obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2012 from the University of Johannesburg, where he majored in sculpture. He holds a Master of Fine Arts - Arts Public Sphere from (ECAV) Ecole Cantonale D’Art du Valais in Sierre-Switzerland and was awarded Prix-excellence for his ongoing research project Permutations of an event centered around notions of archives and surveillance.

His work merges the ambit of artistic research, sculpture, video installations and performative practices. He consistently engages diverse publics/audiences and attempts to make visible history’s gaps/breaks/silences/pauses and remnants. As an artist and practitioner Phumulani has presented and/or contributed work within the South African Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale (2022), ICA Performance Festival, the Spier Light Art Festival (2021), Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival (2020), Young Congo

Biennale (2019), Live Works V6 curated by Simone Frangi and Daniel Blanga Gubbay, Kampala Biennale, Uganda (2016) curated by Elise Atangana, the Bone Performance Festival, Bern Switzerland (2016), curated by Valerian Maly and also performed in the Act Festival in Geneva, Basel, Sierre and Zurich (2016).

In 2016 Ntuli participated in residencies/workshops at the Fondazione Pistoletto in Biella, Italy and the Alps Art Academy in Chur, Switzerland. He presented two solo performance projects at Alps Art Academy in Chur, Switzerland in 2016 to 2017, Umjondolo at Goethe-Institut, Johannesburg; Thupelo, Cape Town; and Infecting the City, Johannesburg in 2012 to 2014.

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