A Demonstration is a monster film with no monsters. Inspired by the existence of taxonomies of monsters at the heart of Early Modern European science, the film explores and reinterprets a way of seeing the natural world that is almost impossible to imagine from today’s vantage point. Early Modern naturalists were guided by a logic in which scientific truths were discovered through visual analogy. The word ‘monster’ comes from the latin ‘monstrare’, meaning to show, to reveal, to demonstrate. A Demonstration picks up on these themes in a poetic exploration of the boundaries of sight and the metamorphosis of form.
Sasha Litvintseva and Beny Wagner are artists, filmmakers, researchers and writers who have been working collaboratively in moving image, text, and lectures since 2017. Focussing on moving image as a tool for the active production of new worlds, their practice has been driven by questions about the thresholds between the body and its surroundings, knowledge regimes and power, modes of organizing and perceiving the natural world. They recently published a book All Thoughts Fly: Monster, Taxonomy, Film with Sonic Acts Press, Amsterdam.
Sasha Litvintseva is a lecturer in Film Theory and Practice at Queen Mary University of London and holds a PhD in Media, Communications and Cultural Studies from Goldsmiths. She is currently working on a book monograph.
Beny Wagner is a PhD candidate at the Archaeologies of Media and Technology Research Group at Winchester School of Art and was a researcher at Jan van Eyck Academy in 2015-6. He has lectured at several art academies in the Netherlands, Belgium and UK.
A fossil cast in plastic, an artificial plateau, classic cars running on the fumes of the nation. Utah Tar Sands Resistance has been fighting experimental mining in the Tavaputs Plateau for almost a decade, setting up camp every summer in sight of heavy equipment and construction crews. The film asks, how might the concept of horizontalism be applied to the physical horizon, its decimation, and to capital’s propensity for vertical extrication? Ancient Sunshine interweaves the endless remaking of the Western landscape with labor history, reflections on anarchist organization, and interspecies economies, such as animal husbandry.
Ancient Sunshine consists of interviews with the Utah Tar Sands Resistance primary organizers and other Utah land protectors, and sets their voices in and against an industrialized landscape. The film draws on a surprising array of present and historical voices, drawing attention to the role of resistance and kinship during times of threat and extinction. Toward a poetic solidarity, toward a formal politics.
Jason Livingston is a media artist, film programmer, and writer. His award-winning work has screened widely, including Rotterdam, Anthology, the Austrian Museum, and the Vancouver Art Gallery. Jason is pursuing a practice-based PhD with the Department of Media Study at the University at Buffalo. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees with the Flaherty Seminar.
Charging scenes of the present with dystopian speculation, Field Resistance teases the boundaries between documentary and science fiction to investigate overlooked environmental devastation in the flyover state of Iowa. Observational documentary-style footage collected from disparate locations – a university herbarium, karst sinkholes inhabited by primordial flora and fauna, a telecommunication tower job-site, among others – is used to evoke a fictional, dystopian narrative of plant ascension and humanity’s retreat. Rejecting the human individual as the focus of narrative cinema, the film adopts the perspective of a symbiotic “implosive whole” in which humans and nonhumans are related in an overlapping, non-total way.
Emily Drummer (b. 1990, San Francisco, CA) is a filmmaker who uses immersive research as a starting point to investigate the dynamic between technology and the natural world. She received her MFA in Film and Video Production from the University of Iowa and her BA from Hampshire College. She is a Princess Grace Film Honoraria recipient and a Flaherty Film Seminar fellow. Drummer’s work has been showcased by venues including Art of the Real at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Black Box at Edinburgh International Film Festival, Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival, Camden International Film Festival, Tacoma Film Festival, and Toronto’s Pleasure Dome. Articles about her work have appeared in the Brooklyn Rail and Millennium Film Journal. She lives in Brooklyn, NY where she teaches at Pratt Institute.
There Is Something In The Air is a call from the periphery of sanity. This documentary essay is a series of dream narratives, and accounts of spiritual possession as experienced by women ‘petitioners’ at the shrine of a Sufi saint in north India. The shrine is a space where ritualised performance becomes the predominant rule of engagement, and one can begin to think of the possibilities that ‘insanity’ produces. The film invites the viewer to a fantastical world, where fear and desire are expressed through dreams and ‘afflictions of air’. The drama unfolds via dreams, and appearances of djinns and disappearances of women. The shrine becomes a space of expressions of longing and transgression. Here, boundary breaches are the norm and if spirit possessions are usually recounted as a loss of the autonomy of the self, There is Something In The Air explores how a personhood may also be expanded through a relationship of reverie with non-human forces.
Iram Ghufran is a filmmaker, researcher and educator based in New Delhi. Her work has been shown in several international art and cinematic contexts including the Forum Expanded at Berlinale, Experimenta India, SAARC Film Festival and Open Frame among others. Her work has won several awards including two National Film Awards and Mary Kay First Prize at the International Women’s Film Festival, Seoul. She is currently pursuing a PhD by practice in documentary film at the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media, University of Westminster, London.