New Cinema Shorts \\ Matt Turner: Counterflows
Counterflows curated by Matt Turner [63 mins]
Moving like the tides, shifting shapelessly, the works in this programme reflect the flow of water in their form, channeling an aquatic energy in their assemblage and construction. Like Bruce Lee’s mantra – brought back into circulation by activists in the recent waves of protests in Hong Kong who used it to describe the mechanisms of their decentralised, leaderless movement – these films are “formless, shapeless”, moving “like water” around the container of the screens that frame them. What is the form and flow of a hydroelectric visual grammar, and what power or potency can be generated by assuming this style of motion?
Films featured, in order of appearance:
Dreamwalker / Andrea Zucchini / 2019 / 15 mins
Andrea Zucchini’s dream walk departs from the Camonica Valley and snakes on looping paths in and around his birth town, Brescia, at the foothills of the Alps in Northern Italy. The Camonica Valley was sculpted by a melting glacier during the last ice age, which left behind monolithic geological formations, known as the Zone Pyramids, and vast slabs of polished sedimentary rock. Over 10,000 years, from the Epipalaeolithic era to the early 20th century, the slabs were carved with over 300,000 engravings that now constitute a unique layering of anthropological time. Depictions of iron-smithing, labyrinths and roman inscriptions are superimposed over deer hunting and birth ritual scenes, all continuously reframing moments in time in relation to one another.
Dreamwalker suggests that this multi-temporal site makes palpable a cultural collective psyche that – rooted in the vibrant earth – carries within it an infinite array of shared histories, fantasies and anticipation. Zucchini conveys an intuitive response to the layers of geologic and cultural time embedded to his childhood home, the psychic resonances of which still animate his return to its landmarks. Dreamwalker is an artefact of archaeo-psychology – a descent into the strata of time and the psyche through an embodied relationship built with place.
Every Piece of You / Peter Spanjer / 2020 / 6mins [Closed Captioned]
Every Piece of You is an exploration of meditative and ASMR sounds and language that muddy the distinction between what they mean, what they could mean or what they don’t mean. The work offers another form of resistance – in the form of stillness and rest – in which the assemblage of all its parts deliberately challenges the viewer’s perception and avoids any kind of narrative cohesion. The evocation of a sensory, or felt experience also more closely represents the incongruities and flow of thought in which random associations come together to create internalised, personal significance.
Hear Me Sometimes / Sofia Theodore-Pierce / 2020 / 14 mins [Closed Captioned]
The monarch butterfly migration and an unearthed cassette tape correspondence form a storm, speaking towards motherhood, loss, expectation, care and legacy. An elegy. An ode to uncertainty. A cry for radical optimism and a reordering of splendour. An incomplete container for obsession and wonder. A mixtape for a trip still in progress.
Signal 8 / Simon Liu / 2019 / 14 mins
They said a storm is calling this way, but we’re still waiting. Lives carry on in Hong Kong as traces of civic upkeep morph into sites of remembrance. Decorative structures mimic nature, then occasionally malfunction – transforming common spectacle to warning signs. The light urges to tell us something but can’t quite get its point across; patience tested for another day.
Every Rupture / Sasha Litvintseva / 2020 / 13 mins [Closed Captioned]
A cruise ship during the Brexit referendum. A colony of birds unwittingly killing the forest they call home. A world in a pandemic. Nothing is a closed system. In moving through these three ecologies, the film questions what old images can mean after a rupture, and offers a space for mourning.
If You Stand With Your Back to the Slowing of the Speed of Light in Water / Dir. Julie Murray / 1997 / 18 mins
This film was selected by curator Matt Turner to play separately from the playlist above as an additional supplement to the programme.
“Images from an aerial tram leaving Manhattan are followed by images of a nearly static bird, of bugs fighting, and of light bending as it passes through glass. Near the film’s end the tram lands in Manhattan, as if it had reversed direction; as in all of Murray’s films, the images and the editing can pull several ways at once. There are no absolutes, and even the light by which we see is altered by the material it passes through.” – Fred Camper
This collection of shorts premiered on Friday 11 June and was available to watch until Friday 18 June.
For New Cinema Shorts, AND Festival 2021’s weekly programme of short form cinema, we have invited guest curators to each select week-long waves of moving images that ripple and reflect across the festival’s virtual, real and post-digital landscapes. This week’s shorts which will premiere on Friday 11 June are curated by Matt Turner, and will be available to watch for a limited time until Friday 18 June.
Image: Every Rupture, Sasha Litvintseva (2020)