UnionDocs presents The Spectacle of History, a program of short films by Sasha Litvintseva. Litvintseva will be in attendance alongside curator of experimental documentary series Visions, Benjamin R. Taylor, for a discussion following the program.
Alluvion, 2013, 31 mins
A father and his grown children of unnamed nationality, make their way through a 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. Watch the trailer here.
Immortality, Home and Elsewhere, 2014, 12 mins
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. If you could experience everything that ever was, would you still be afraid? Watch the trailer here.
Evergreen, 2014, 27 mins
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. Watch the trailer here.
Exile Exotic, 2015, 14 mins
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. Watch the trailer here.
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 Art Biennale, Poland, The Moscow Biennale for Young Art, Modern Art Museum Moscow, Institute of Contemporary Art, London, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival, Kasseler Dokfest, Festival Du Nouveau Cinema, Montreal, Kino Der Kunst, Munich, Cinema Du Reel, Paris among many others. A graduate of the Slade School of Fine Art she is currently working on practice based PhD proposing the concept of geological filmmaking at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Benjamin Taylor is a filmmaker working in experimental and documentary forms. His work focusses on geography, architecture, nature and spirituality. His films have been presented in various festivals and galleries in Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia. He is the curator of the monthly experimental documentary screening series Visions in Montréal.