RECENT WORK BY SASHA LITVINTSEVA
Screening and Discussion with Artist
The Nightingale / 1084 N. Milwaukee, Chicago, IL
Sasha Litvintseva is an artist, filmmaker, researcher and curator. She was born and raised in Russia and has been based in London since 2004. Her films excavate the layers of history, past and future, embedded in landscape and architecture, and juxtapose and entangle the monumental and the pictorial, narrative and infrastructure, the global and the personal, the human and the geologic, embodiment and temporality, politics and leisure, and ultimately the infinite and the everyday.
Her work has been exhibited worldwide including Wroclaw Media ArtBiennale, Poland, The Moscow Biennale for Young Art, Modern Art Museum Moscow, Institute of Contemporary Art, London, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival, Union Pacific gallery, London, Kasseler Dokfest, Carlos Ishikawa gallery, London, Festival Du Nouveau Cinema, Montreal, Kino Der Kunst, Munich, Cinema Du Reel, Paris among many others.
She has had solo shows and retrospective screenings at Union Docs, New York, Courtisane Film Festival, Ghent, Close-Up Film Centre, London, AC Institute, New York, Edinburgh Film Guild, Image/Movement, Berlin, Nightingale Cinema, Chicago and VISIONS, Montreal, and her film Evergreen was released on DVD by Filmarmalade in 2015. A graduate of the Slade School of Fine Art she is currently working on an AHRC CHASE funded practice based PhD proposing the concept of geological filmmaking at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she is a founding member of the Screen and Audiovisual Research Unit. She is also an independent curator of contemporary moving image and co-curator of the forthcoming inaugural November Film Festival.
Alluvion (2013, HD video, 31 min)
A father and his grown children of unnamed nationality, make their way through a Turkish coastal landscape where ancient and modern histories transmute into material spectacle and the nights are filled with incessant entertainment. Amidst remains of mutated cultures, bodies are caught in rituals of sun worship, stagnating in a state of passivity. Disco-lights permeate all, and turquoise toenails float above the city. Millennia old columns are submerged in swimming pools. At a shipyard on the edge of town, a group of men are building an ark, labourers actively asserting meaningful influence upon their surroundings, they may or may not achieve salvation as the film and the world around them all are disintegrating toward an Atlantean End.
Immortality, home and elsewhere (2014, HD video, 12 min)
(this is not full definition)
Weaving around a theory of immortality based on the premise that our lives are a summation of all the information we consume and process, gleaned from existing theories from a number of scientific disciplines, the film draws on my personal history’s brush with a global nuclear disaster, to precipitate a meditation on the potential role of an individual in the imaginary film/event of our individual or collective death: as a protagonist, or as an extra appearing in a handful of frames at the very moment of their death.
The (im)possibility of a singular setting for such an event is at question, and there is a temporal flattening accompanying the spacial flattening, both as a collapse of history implied by the end of potential futures, but also the flattening of time implicit in our fascination with ruin.
The uncanny familiarity we gain with spaces through mainstream cinema, which is itself becoming increasingly domesticated, is not unlike what is made possible with streetview. By releasing locations such as the pyramids and the Taj Mahal, themselves monumental attempts at immortality, streetview is declaring itself as a competitor to tourism, tourism itself a chase of experience and self-documentation.
The virtual experience may not quite compare to the real thing yet, but the mediated virtual experience carries the same indexical value as the mediated real thing, being one step removed from the physical world. The question of authenticity in terms of cinematic authorship as well as consumption remains to be answered.
If you could experience everything that ever was, would you still be afraid?
Evergreen (2014, HD video, 27 min)
Evergreen explores the crisis of grand narratives in the face of the photographic image. It is a self-deconstructing story of an immortal traveller’s undefinably temporal/spacial journey through inhabited theme parks and museums, islands of time, abandoned cities. A civilisation’s perpetual struggle for perfection and unquenchable documentation of itself, as if driven by knowledge of its looming demise. Heritage as spectacle, spectacle as heritage, nature as both.
Exile Exotic (2015, HD video, 14 min)
Steeped in elliptical history and historical simulacra, Exile Exotic is set at a hotel that is a replica of the Kremlin. Narrating the exotic beginnings of my mother’s and my exile from Russia, the film serves as a platform for us to visit the Kremlin again, albeit by the side of a pool. Soundtracked by an operatic score reminiscent of the song of the sirens making Odysseus stray on his long journey home, our story reverberates throughout the scope of Russian history’s limiting of free movement of individuals. This film is a pilgrimage. This film comes in waves.