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 unliveable 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, one of humanity’s oldest mythic creatures, the mermaid, appears at a Cold War-era submarine base, while cosmic signals and white noise traverse ocean depths and the far reaches of space. Christina Battle’s Water once ruled links satellite imagery with planetary colonization in a pseudo-documentary exploring water, Mars, and Earth’s past, present, and future. Susan Schuppli’s Trace Evidence examines the geological, meteorological, and hydrological appearance of evidence, at the molecular level, of significant nuclear events, including the journey of radioactive elements from Fukushima to the B.C. coast. For each of these artists, narratives of science fiction and material fact converge in surprising ways.
Sirenomelia | Emilija Škarnulytė/Lithuania 2017. 12 min.
Water once ruled | Christina Battle/Canada 2018. 6 min.
Trace Evidence | Susan Schuppli/Great Britain-Canada 2016. 53 min.
Programmed by Jayne Wilkinson
Co-presented with Capture Photography Festival, in parallel with the Pattison Outdoor Billboards Public Art Project, sited on seven billboards along the Arbutus Greenway between Fir and Burrard and on four billboards at 5th and Quebec for the month of April.