Host Film Programme: Abstractions

Free entry

Céline Condorelli’s installation Host consists of a large-scale curtain installation and a film programme in seven parts – Abstractions, Land, Water, Enclosures, Distance, Sea and Seed – each on view for five days. The programme combines documentaries, artists’ films and feature-length films dealing in some way with the consequences of living in a dangerously warmer world for people, animals and landscapes.

Ilha das Flores, Jorge Furtado (1989)
35 mm | 12:31 min.
The island of flowers (Ilha das Flores) is a place where some people eat the leftovers of pigs’ dinners, after seemingly everyone else has eaten too. This film follows a tomato that ends up being the dinner of poor women and children, via the myriad turns and loops its life went through since it left Mr Suzuki, who grew it. This seemingly meaningless life-cycle of waste is accompanied by a deluge of relentless descriptions of the chain of events that led it to be; and this of course fails to justify the unfairness of consumer society, but on the contrary only highlights how absurd is.

Coal Money, Wang Bing (2009)
53 min.
’Coal money’ is what the drivers of 100-ton trucks are following endlessly, to and fro, day and night, on the road linking the Shanxi mines with the port of Tianjin in northern China. China is hungry for coal, but coal is heavy, dirty, filled with dust, rocks and sand. Along the route the drivers encounter prostitutes, cops, petty racketeers, garage owners, mechanics, haggling and blackmail, everyone trying to cheat everyone else, according to the harsh reality of street capitalism. As the coal moves between different buyers and sellers, Wang patiently observes the endless human attempts to extract a profit at whatever cost.

Urth, Ben Rivers (2016)
16mm & Super 8 transferred to HD, 19 min.
Filmed in Arizona’s Biosphere 2, Urth records a nameless scientist’s monologue describing her final days inside an experimental ecosystem. She might be the last woman on earth, or the last scientist attempting life in a separate, closed and yet sustainable world. The film offers a meditation on the possibility for life in human-made environments, and the impossibilities of life in human-damaged ones. As in many of Rivers films, utopias are lived experiences, rooted in real people and situations, here through the efforts to support and maintain human life as an ongoing relationship between life systems. The film takes its title from an Old Norse word suggesting the twisted threads of fate (as cited by Timothy Morton in his recent book, Dark Ecology).

Inhabitants, Artavazd Pelechian (1970)
35 mm. transferred to digital video, 9 min.
For the most part, Inhabitants depicts animals in panic. The film is filled with shots of large-scale migrations and stampedes (with, surprisingly, some helicopter shots), but merely alludes to the presence of human beings—a few silhouettes who seem to be the cause of these vast anxious movements of animal fear. In many ways this film is an ode to the animal world, through a movement towards formal abstraction, with clouds of silver birds pulverising light. They are the inhabitants of the earth. Pelechian said that “it’s hard to give a verbal synopsis of these films. Such films exist only on the screen, you have to see them”.

Total duration: 95 min.

A previous iteration of this project took place in the garden of the Agricultural University of Athens as the outdoor Cinema Zagara, commissioned by Locus Athens for Geometries, and produced with AREA architects in 2018. It hosted the film programme Ecodrome, co-programmed with Filipa Ramos, which has been expanded for Kunsthal Aarhus.