Programmed by Jayne Wilkinson
This selection of artists’ films looks at bodies of water through technologies of seeing, sensing, and investigation to help us imagine different ecologies and less visible, even alien, environments. Exploring various approaches to “remote sensing,” these works frame life on an increasingly unlivable planet through militarized and infrastructural forms of oceanic space. What can the relationship between the visibility of a watery surface and the invisibility of what exists below it tell us about possible futures—on and beyond our own environments?
In Emilija Škarnulytė’s Sirenomelia (2017, 12 min.), a post-human mythology unravels around one of humanities oldest mythic creatures—a mermaid—who mysteriously appears among NATO facilities and a Cold War–era submarine base, while cosmic signals and white noise traverse from deep within the ocean to the farthest reaches of outer space. Christina Battle’s Water once ruled (2018, 6 min.) links satellite imagery with planetary colonization in a pseudo-documentary that speculates on how water, as a missing resource, might connect a new history of Mars with Earth’s past, present, and future. Susan Schuppli’s Trace Evidence (2016, 53 min.) explores the geological, meteorological, and hydrological appearance of nuclear evidence within the molecular arrangement of matter, using the unique signature of radioactive isotopes to reconnect the evidential links that planetary and oceanic phenomena have seemingly torn apart.
For each of these artists, narratives of science fiction and material fact converge in surprising ways.
Sirenomelia | Emilija Škarnulytė | 2017 | 12 minutes
Water once ruled | Christina Battle | 2018 | 6:14 minutes
Trace Evidence | Susan Schuppli | 2016 | 53 minutes
Presented in partnership by
Capture Photography Festival and DIM Cinema in parallel with the 2019 Pattison Outdoor Billboards Public Art Project