Rare Minerals plus Q&A (2017)

This event was part of AND Festival 2017.

Rare Minerals uncovered varying forms of temporality brought about through an exploration of memory, data, space and geology. From the hidden concealment of network infrastructure in the underground to the abandoned minds of the Penwith Peninsula, these shorts looked at the political resonances of materials and places.

Jerusalem Pink, Dir. Maeve Brennan (2015) looks at the role of stone in Palestine in relation to her great-grandfather’s work on the architectural restoration of the Dome of the Rock (1917-37).

A Mountain That Opens Like a Door and Closes Like a Mountain, Dir. Felix Kalmenson (2017)  navigates a landscape of perforations. Falling into and emerging out of holes, the film collapses the long history of the Cornish and Welsh landscapes as sites of mourning and resistance and what it means to encounter these fragments as a visitor to its landscape and archives. The film blends original footage of abandoned mines and neolithic burial sites in the Penwith Peninsula with images and miners ballads from Philip Donnellan’s 1961 film The Big Hewer based on the radio play by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger which bears witness to the lives and conditions of miners in the Northumberland, Durham, South Wales and East Midlands coalfields in the 1960s.

Project X, Dir’s. Laura Poitras and Henrik Moltke (2015) A top-secret handbook takes viewers on an undercover journey to Titanpointe, the site of a hidden partnership. Narrated by Rami Malek and Michelle Williams, and based on classified NSA documents, Project X reveals the inner workings of a windowless skyscraper in downtown Manhattan.

This film is the product of a joint reporting project between Field of Vision and The Intercept.

White Mountain, Dir. Emma Charles (UK) (2016)  is a 16mm docu-fiction film set primarily in the Pionen Data Center, a former Cold War-era civil defence bunker in Stockholm redesigned in 2008 by architect Albert France-Lanord as a data centre to house servers for clients, which at one point included Wikileaks and The Pirate Bay. Starting by surveying the rough topography of the surrounding Södermalm landscape, the film gradually pushes beneath the surface, illuminating the ordinarily concealed network infrastructure. As the camera idles on the florescent-lit server stacks, issues of privacy, surveillance and digital sovereignty inevitably emanate. Located 30 meters under the granite rocks of Vita Bergen Park in Stockholm, the hydrogen bomb proof subterranean hub has been constructed with direct references to science fiction films such as Silent Running (1972), and classic set design by British Production Designer, Ken Adam. Part Bond villain lair, part retro-futuristic spaceship, aquatic and lush greenery coexist alongside the flashing lights of the data storage systems. Playing on a science fiction aesthetic and with poetic narration written by Jussi Parikka, White Mountain uncovers varying forms of temporality brought about through an exploration of data, space and geology.

When Objects Dream, Dir. Emma Charles & Ben James (forthcoming)  After the screening of White Mountain, Emma Charles will talk about her forthcoming project with artist and gallerist Ben James. When Objects Dream, continues Charles’ investigation into making tangible our relationship with technology. The film follows the journey of technology from the mineral-rich earth to the city. The backdrop is the vast Kazakh landscape, and the traditional folklore stories of its inhabitants, as a framework within which to explore some of the material and immaterial interfaces that exist between technology and human experience.


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