Experimental Film Club: Ruins & Entropy Part 2
Part 2 of a two part programme curated by Aoife Desmond.
Tuesday February 26, 18:30h
Irish Film Institute, 6 Eustace Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2)
Introduced by Dr Declan Long (Co-director, MA Art in the Contemporary World, NCAD)
EFC and IFI present Ruins & Entropy Part 2. Part 2 continues the thread explored in Part 1 which focused on Robert Smithson’s art practice and theory. Part 2 focuses on contemporary filmmakers; Emily Richardson, Ben Rivers and Patrick Keiller and their exploration of decay and impermanence within the contemporary landscape. A selection of four films from these filmmakers combines architectural residue and history with a wandering or drifting protagonist and his/her poetic overview. The locations range from Hackney in London and Oxford Ness a disused military site in England to a wide ranging European tour and a fragmented tour of Britain ending up in the Isle of Mull.
- Memo Mori (Emily Richardson, 2009, 23 min, video, colour, sound)
With commentary and readings from Hackney, That Red Rose Empire by Iain Sinclair
Memo mori is a journey through Hackney tracing loss and disappearance. A canoe trip along the canal, the huts of the Manor Garden allotments in Hackney Wick, demolition, relocation, a magical bus tour through the Olympic park and a Hell’s Angel funeral mark a seismic shift in the topography of East London.This film has been put together from fragments of footage shot over the last 3 years in Hackney, each section being an event or observation of something that has been or is about to be erased from the landscape. It has been woven together with Iain Sinclair’s commentary and readings from his book, Hackney, That Red Rose Empire.
- Cobra Mist (Emily Richardson, 2008, 6 min 45 sec, 16mm anamorphic, colour, sound)
The soundtrack is composed by Benedict Drew from sound recordings taken from Orford Ness by Chris Watson.
Cobra Mist explores the relationship between the landscape of Orford Ness and the traces of its military history, particularly the experiments in radar and the extraordinary architecture of the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment. Much of what took place there is still under the official secrets act so will only be revealed over time. The buildings have been left to the elements to deteriorate, creating a tension between the time it will take for their secrets to come out and for the buildings to disappear. The place has a sinister atmosphere, which the architecture itself begins to reveal or hint at. The film records the physical traces of it’s often secretive past using the photographic nature of 16mm film and time lapse to construct an impossible experience of the landscape and expose its history to the camera.
- I know where I’m going (Ben Rivers, 2009, 29mins, 16mm (anamorphic ratio), colour, optical sound)
“What would be left of human action, human traces, human constructions, human buildings and wider ripple effects of humans after that length of time..¦assuming, that humans disappear in the geologically near future”
A fragmented road trip through Britain on the peripheries. Down empty roads, off in the wilderness, a few lone stragglers. My first stop geologist Jan Zalasiewicz, talking about the Earth in One-hundred millions years time.
Powell & Pressburger’s heroine in their magical I Know Where I’m Going (1945) knows exactly where she’s going, and she tries to get there with stoic pig-headedness, but of course she never does. I decided to follow her lead and make my destination the same as hers, but with every intention of getting lost, following false leads, and trusting in the laws of serendipity, while winding my way through an almost abandoned, devastated Britain, to the Isle of Mull. My first stop was with Jan Zalasiewisz, a geologist who had been trying to imagine the Earth in one-hundred million years, which seemed like as good a start as any.
- The End (Patrick Keiller, 1986, 18 mins, 16mm, B&W, optical sound)
"Ex-architect Patrick Keiller brings a graphic and compositional sense of landscape to this complex essay film following a conceited modern-day flaneur who conjects ruminatively over images of a curiously ill-defined European landscape. From within these images of construction, roadways and the never-ending to-ing and fro-ing of Europe's numerous train stations, can be glimpsed the visage of the old Europe, defined by borders, varied cultures and a distinct sense of place. At one point the camera lingers accusingly upon the dated futuristic symbol of the 1958 Brussels' World Fair.
Keiller's film is book-ended by two extraordinary images echoing Europe's past. In the opening sequence a boat rocks plaintively away from the white cliffs of southern England, furnishing us with a longing look, graphically similar but not afforded to the steely-eyed emigrants of Ford Madox Brown's epochal mid-nineteenth century painting 'The Last of England'.(1) In the last images the decaying footage of a group of tourists assembled in the Piazza Navona is looped, slowed down and scored by Brahms melancholy 'setting' for Goethe's 'Winter Journey over the Harz Mountains'. These odd, layered, extremely moving moments seem to almost stand in for the feeling of loss, displacement and restlessness evoked by Keiller's less than celebratory gaze upon the landscape, both physical and mental, thrown up by contemporary Europe." - Adrian Danks