dispatches from these so-called lands...
guest curated by Christina Battle
JUNE 1 | 8:30 PM | Dave Barber Cinematheque + online here
Centering the multitude of complexities that connect us to land, this program highlights works that frame the intricate and often problematic ways in which we are in relation to it. Through collapsed timelines and careful framing, works in dispatches from these so-called lands… prompt new ways for considering and visualizing the land anew.
A limited-run zine will be published incorporating textual prompts from works in the program as a way to carry considerations from the space of the cinema outward into the surrounding landscape.
Christina Battle is an artist based in amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton), within the Aspen Parkland: the transition zone where prairie and forest meet. Her practice focuses on thinking deeply about the concept of disaster: its complexity, and the intricacies that are entwined within it. She looks to disaster as a series of intersecting processes including social, environmental, cultural, political, and economic … which are implicated not only in how disaster is caused but also in how it manifests, is responded to, and overcome. Through this research, Battle looks closer to both online models and plant systems for strategies to learn from, and for ways we might help to frame and strengthen such response.
Property, dir. Jeanne Liotta
2013 | US | 4 | 35mm on video
An anti-landscape film and a one-two punch. Subject: the implied and uncontainable expanse of a landscape bought, sold and inhabited. I was prodded by a proximity to the western landscape. It was where I found myself; I made no claims to it, no promises, no sympathies. I studied the lingo and took my measure. Made in Colorado.
In no other country in the world is the love of property keener or more alert than in the United States. Alexis deTocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835
News From Nowhere, dir. Ben Balcom
2020 | US | 8 | 16mm on video
“Simplicity of life, even the barest, is not misery but refinement.” - William Morris
Two slow pans across a public park in Milwaukee. Words from Bernadette Mayer imagining the possibility of a perfect summer day.
in the Valley of the Moon, dir. Elise Rasmussen
2022 | US/CA | 21 | 16mm on video
in the Valley of the Moon investigates the paradoxes of scientific developments and ecological innovations, linking together mineral deposits in Chile’s Atacama Desert, food production, chemical warfare and the environmental toll of green energy. This work begins with revisiting the Haber-Bosch method, a scientific discovery of the early 20th Century which allowed for the creation of a synthetic version of sodium nitrate. This innovation was used to create fertilizer for food sources, something necessary as the growth of the world population superseded the subsistence that natural nitrate resources could provide. It is estimated that two-fifths of the world’s population would not have survived if it wasn’t for this discovery. Fritz Haber received a Nobel Prize for his innovation, but soon put this chemistry to use in the development of poisonous gases during the First World War. Distraught at her husband’s contribution to the war effort, Clara Immerwahr, a pacifist and the first woman to receive a Doctorate in chemistry in Germany committed suicide. Meanwhile, as a result of this discovery, the mining sites in the Atacama Desert in Chile, which had supplied the world with natural nitrate deposits, became ghost towns as the industry collapsed. Today the Atacama Desert is experiencing a mining renaissance as it has become one of the world’s leading producers of copper, lithium and rare-earth minerals. As the human population increasingly relies on these resources to feed the appetite for electronics and to grow electric vehicle industries, the consumption of these natural mineral deposits has taken an environmental toll on Atacama’s already fragile ecosystem. This work weaves together these histories and current realities to comment on what is gained and lost in the name of technological progress.
Surrounded by Colors We Could No Longer See, dir. Abinadi Meza
2022 | US/MX | 4.5 | video
Surrounded by Colors We Could No Longer See is a passage through landscape, memory, surfaces, spaces...night and desert. This experimental short film is a tactile, flowing space of textures, fragments, images and afterimages. Inspired by a text of the same name published in Manual for a Future Desert.
sky • body • water • fall (天 • 體 • 水 • 落), dir. Yo-Yo Lin in collaboration with Yidan Zeng
2021 | US | 4 | video
Can we move slowly, out-of-sync, and still find ourselves at the end, in the same place?
sky • body • water • fall is an invitation and meditation on presence. The piece exists both as an archive of past migration and present movement, its fluidity fluttering between the cuts of video collage and spoken scores. Arising from a moment of hyper-mediation by technology for social connection, we instead ask, “What if we connected through the natureverse instead of the Internet?” By interfacing with our bodies and nature as portals for connection, we may just find ourselves together across distance.
sky • body • water • fall is part of a series of video scores entitled Distance Rituals developed at the 2021 Wave Hill Artist Residency and supported by the 2020 Laundromat Project Creative Action Fund.
Extractions, dir. TJ Cuthand
2019 | CA | 15 | video
A personal film about Canada's extraction industry and its detrimental effects on the land and Indigenous peoples. This film parallels resource extraction with the booming child apprehension Industry currently operating in Canada which is responsible for putting more Indigenous children into foster care than were in Residential Schools. As the filmmaker reviews her life and how these Industries have affected her, she also reflects on having her own eggs retrieved and frozen to make an Indigenous baby.
the desert, dir. Adán De La Garza
2022 | US | 5.5 | video
The Desert is a speculative fiction narrative about a near future and the events that lead to the desertification of planet earth.
it’s amazing that you still exist, dir. Ryley Williams
2021 | CA | 4 | video
“What is 500 years to 10,000 if there cannot be 500 more” Its amazing you exist asks this question as it documents the present tense of my home in northwestern Alberta. Snapshots of Children, the remaining northern prairie grassland, and harvesting potatoes in my nohkum and nomisoms yard overlay an original score and musings of buffalo not-so-long-gone.
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Images from: Ben Balcom's News form Nowhere, Elise Rasmussen's in the Valley of the Moon, and Abinadi Meza's Surrounded by Colors We Could No Longer See