Patty Chang | Invocation for a Wandering Lake Part 1 & 2

12 mins (2016)

Selected by Ballroom Marfa, Texas

Patty Chang’s Invocation for a Wandering Lake: Part 1 & 2 (2016) calls for contemplation of human and non-human lives, the natural environment, and destructive governing forces, as we witness the artist in ritual acts of care and mourning.

The lifeless body of a whale floats off the coast of Newfoundland’s Fogo Islands, a former fishing hub. The artist Patty Chang is seen meditatively washing the deceased animal. With similar attention, she scrubs the shell of an abandoned ship in the desert of Muynak, Uzbekistan, a defunct seaport on the receded Aral Sea. These repetitive acts seem almost absurd and unnecessary, as these entities could never return to life. Nevertheless, she continues to perform rituals of care, perhaps as a way to process their fateful ends. Over the last year, we collectively experienced extreme loss due to the ongoing pandemic. If we are to create new ways of living, perhaps we first need to practice ways of mourning, mending, and contemplating through rituals of care, as the film suggests.

Artist Q&A 

Where are you from and how did you become interested in moving image work?
I was born in California, United States. I began by working in live performance and when I had access to video cameras, I started using video.

What inspired/influenced you to make the work?
When I was in Newfoundland, I heard there was a beached whale not far from where I was staying. When I saw the whale corpse in the water, I felt very overwhelmed by sadness. I felt that I needed to do something about it and decided I wanted to wash the whale’s body. I bought a sponge and waders at the local department store and went into the cold water to try and wash it. A few years later when I was working near the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan, I saw a fishing boat moored in the sand. The sea had shrunk and the boat was in the desert. I felt a similar feeling of loss for the boat and the past and decided to wash it as well.

What are you working on at the moment?
I have been installing a 5-channel video installation at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn NY called Milk Debt which is a multi-part video project consisting of videos of lactating women pumping their breast milk as they recite lists of fears drawn from multiple communities across different geographical regions. I am also working on a collaborative project thinking about endings and climate change by thinking about necropsy with Astrida and Aleksija Neimanis.

Patty Chang © the Artist
Patty Chang © the Artist

Patty Chang (b.1972) is a Los Angeles-based artist and educator who uses performance, video, installation, and narrative forms when considering identity, gender, transnationalism, colonial legacies, the environment, large-scale infrastructure projects, and impacted subjectivities.

Her work has been exhibited nationwide and internationally at such institutions as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Guggenheim Museum, New York; New Museum, New York; M+ Museum, Hong Kong; BAK, Basis voor actuele Kunst, Utrecht; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester, England;the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Times Museum in Guangzhou, China; and Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden. She has received a United States Artist Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation Grant, a Creative Capital Fellowship, short listed for the Hugo Boss Prize, a Guna S. Mundheim Fellowship in the Visual Arts at the American Academy in Berlin, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, and an Anonymous Was a Woman Grant. She teaches at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Polina Kanis | The Friendship Tree

16:02 mins (2021)

Selected by Moscow Museum of Modern Art

The Friendship Tree was an ideological project of Soviet bio-engineering. Back in 1934, when Fyodor Zorin, a Soviet scientist, was seeking to develop new, hardy citrus fruits, he planted a wild lemon tree in the botanical garden in Sochi. Then he grafted other fruits onto its crown: Japanese mandarins, Spanish oranges, Chinese kumquats, Italian lemons, grapefruits and more, up to a total of 45 different citrus varieties. A tradition grew up: new grafts added to the tree by prominent figures politicians, artists, scientists, astronauts, athletes. Today there are more than 630 of these additional shoots, representing 167 different countries. The grafting ritual is mirrored by the gifts sent from all over the world. The Friendship Tree’s growth is not only physical. Since it was planted, it has also become a monument to our shared, global Earth.

Polina Kanis’ video explores a utopian vision of political and ecological symbiosis –something which remains unattainable to this day. It shows a group of people living in a world where both the planet and the individual are transformed. Finding themselves in the situation of earth-without-us, they come together to recognise and mourn their humanity.

Artist Q&A 

Where are you from and how did you become interested in moving image work?
I am from St. Petersburg, moved to Moscow and now I’m based in the Netherlands. I have graduated from Rodchenko Art School majoring in Moving Image, though I have started studying photography. I have realized that moving image is a more challenging medium for me and allows me to develop the potential of my projects further. I can’t say I only work with moving image, though it always stays a significant element of my projects.

What inspired/influenced you to make the work?
In order to resist the prevailing structures, resistance itself must be interrogated. Challenging the notion of ‘action’ and ‘resistance’ is prerogative to reorient the definition of dissent. Rather than buying into the dichotomy of ‘to act’ or to remain ‘passive’ a new space must be forged. Responding to my ongoing work with ‘the non-event’, an un-suspenseful stasis, my proposed artistic work is a Toothless Resistance. One of many starting points to this project is The Friendship Tree in the Tsentralny City District of Sochi, southern Russia, which symbolises the context of failed global utopia. 167 nation states are represented by donated sprigs of citrus trees that have been grafted together to form one monstrous, artificial whole. This “living symbol” of global unity is human-centric with no consideration of the process from the position of the tree itself. How can this tree be sensed in order to transition from one planetary gaze to another? I found it an important case for reconsideration of the resistance and the dichotomy of the ‘action’ and ‘resistance’.

What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I continue to work on the Toothless Resistance project and its next part which will be shown at the end of 2021.

Polina Kanis (born 1985, Leningrad) graduated from Rodchenko Art School, Moscow, in 2011 and in the same year was awarded the Kandinsky Art Prize in the Best Young Artist category. In 2016 Kanis received the Sergey Kuryokhin Award in the Media Object category. Her work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions, film festivals and screenings, including a solo show in Haus der Kunst Munich (2017), VISIO program in Palazzo Strozzi in Florence (2019), the parallel program of Manifesta 10, the 2015 edition of the Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art, Garage museum of Contemporary Art (2014, 2018), VI Moscow International Biennale for Young Art (2015), Moscow International Experimental Film Festival (2016/2018), Hamburg Short Film Festival (2019) and many others. Polina Kanis is based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Clare Langan | Flight from the City


Selected by Crawford Art Gallery

Flight from the City (2015) is about connection, love, separation and transition. Starkly shot in ‘black’ water - in the hot springs at Fludir, Iceland - Langan focuses on the powerful bond between a mother and daughter. Whilst the film powerfully addresses universal concerns of humanity in the intimate relationships between a child, a parent or a partner, the title of the film alludes to a potential flight from the safety of a home through adulthood or because of an impending confrontation or armed conflict. The projection of our experiences become part of the film’s narrative and the entwined and distanced bodies, which we view on screen, ultimately become our own.

The film was shot at Fludir, Iceland especially for Jóhann Jóhannsson’s composition Flight from the City. The film was used to launch his 2016 album Orphee.

Artist Q&A 

Clare Langan
Photo by Conor Horgan

Where are you from and how did you become interested in moving image work?
I am from Dublin, Ireland and became interested in the Moving Image while studying Fine Art at NCAD Dublin. I was particularly taken at that time the work of Tarkovsky, and later while studying at NYU, New York I was introduced to the experimental film scene there.

What inspired/influenced you to make the work?
The Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson had created the music for my film The Floating World, 2013, and asked me if I was interested in making a film for him in exchange. So he sent me the track Flight from the City, which then went on to launch his album Orphée. He gave me complete artistic control, and simply to make a film in reaction to his music.  At the time I did not know his story behind the music. I shot the film in Iceland with a close friend of mine Tristan Gribbin and her 9 year old daughter Leela. Tristan had recently lost her father and I too had suffered recent loss, so we discussed making a film about love and loss, connection and letting go. It was only when Jóhann released the album and I read the byline for the that I realized the music has also about his experience of love, loss and transition. “Orphée traces a path from darkness into light, inspired by the Orpheus myth. A story about death and rebirth, the elusive nature of creation and art and the ephemeral nature of memory. It's an album about change, love and art – a reflection of our relationships, as is the film Flight from the City directed and produced by Clare Langan. “

What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently doing the post production on a new multi-channel and single channel piece, The Rewilding. It explores the concept of ‘rewilding’, in reaction to recent studies on the mass extinction of animals and plants and the disintegration of the natural world. The film is set in a future world where mankind, animals and nature are more in balance with each other. The film does not set out to create a Utopian vision, but one filled with ‘real possibility’, with a focus on a real awareness of our actions and decisions, no matter how small.

Clare Langan (b. 1967) is an Irish artist and filmmaker. Exhibitions and screenings include Kino Der Kunst, Munich (2020); Physical Cinema Festival, Reykjavik (2019); Shaping Ireland, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin (2019); The Best of Kino der Kunst, Dirimart, Istanbul (2018), B3 Biennial of the Moving Image, Frankfurt (2017), Lyon Biennale (2007), and Film Trilogy, MoMA, New York (2004).

Her films have received numerous awards, including the Prix Videoformes 2014, Clermont-Ferrand; the Principle Prize at the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival (2007) and she represented Ireland at the 25th Bienal de São Paolo (2002).

Hylozoic/Desires | Setting the Stage For a Gathering of Friends


Selected by Project 88, Mumbai

Hylozoic/Desires (Himali Singh Soin and David Soin Tappeser) are a multi-media poet-musician duo whose work centres around the rhythms of love and the beat of belonging.

Setting the Stage For a Gathering of Friends (2020) was made in the pandemic in Delhi when the artist Himali Singh Soin was confined to her home. Through an absorbing aerial view of a figure drawing a circle on the flat roof of a building, Hylozoic/Desires set the stage for a gathering of

friends and explore uncertainty, chance, missed connections and a return to something we once felt and offer that waiting can be a form of love.

Mihály Stefanovicz | 4_Runners


Selected by Tromsø Kunstforening

In 4_Runners (2021) by Mihály Stefanovicz, four ultrarunners on treadmills are staged in the gym or in private apartments throughout Norway. The static treadmill implies a post-modern theme where the use of soil - or running on the earth- is outdated. The runners move through space and time and different landscapes, with the treadmill wheel is perpetually turning without ever touching the ground, eliminating the notion

of a journey but seeking the euphoria of physical fatigue.

4_Runners was developed from the multichannel video installation Document_3,4,5,6 under the support and guidance of Tromsø Kunstforening, Norway. 

Mihály Stefanovicz (b.1991, Hungary) is a visual artist, whose practise is predominantly based upon photo imagery and video work. After a short period spent in Munich (G) and Portsmouth (GB), in 2011 Mihály settled in The Hague (NL) for eight years, where he completed his bachelor degree at Royal Academy of Arts.  After graduation, he spent one year assisting Paul Kooiker in Amsterdam.

He was trained in the craft of traditional photography, focusing on studio photography. Subsequently Mihály began to experiment with an action-based approach: He had engaged in a walking performance for a month, - took repetitive portraits of himself in a photo booth daily for three months, - kept taking pictures of passing aeroplanes with his phone for a year. Eventually, he reduced the camera to be solely a tool of documentation. The act of repetition became the central element of his practice. Later on, he turned towards appropriated imagery, which still is a substantial part of his work. In August 2016 he attended the artist in residence program of Listastofan Art Space in Reykjavik.

In the 2019 Mihály moved to Norway, where his focus shifted from static images to video work. Without prior experience in this medium, which he considers an advantage, he has started to produce uncut footage, that is shot in- and represents "real-time".

Skip to content