Common Heritage – Aesthetica Short Film Festival, 2019

CommonHeritage_EmmaCritchley

Common Heritage had its film festival premiere screening at the Aesthetica Short Film Festival last month.

The film explores the drive to explore and exploit the sea floor, which means this once seemingly infinite landscape is now being carved up into territorial space. Common Heritage is an urgent response to the gold rush of deep-sea mining for rare earth minerals, exposing how reverberant layers of industrialisation have affected the way we relate to our environment. Highlighting fantasies we construct around exploration, the film draws into focus how these romanticized stages are in fact borders of conquest, annexed for geopolitical territory appropriation and mineral resources. In 1967, Arvid Pardo, the Maltese Ambassador to the UN gave a speech, which instigated the Common Heritage of Mankind principle. This speech narrated by science fiction writer, Gwyneth Jones is the provocation for the film. Dystopian science fiction motifs are harmonized with a poetic montage of deep-sea exploration archive footage. This juxtaposition sets up questions about our current state and how we should move forward into these frontiers.

More information about the festival here: https://www.asff.co.uk/

Science Gallery Venice – Earth Water Sky Residency

VSG WORKSHOPSI’ve just got back from Venice where I’ve been working with Professor Carlo Barbante and his team at Ca’ Foscari University on the International Ice Memory Project. As part of the research process I have also been running narrative and movement workshops at Ca’ Foscari University and with our partners Centro per la Scena Contemporanea (CSC) and Y-40 in Bassano del Grappa and Montegrotto Terme.

The Ice Memory Project aims to create a library of ice cores drilled from non-polar regions, which will be safely stored in Antarctica. From the ice cores and the air bubbles trapped in the ice, some of  which can be dated back as far as 18,000 BCE, scientists can reconstruct the Earth’s past climate and atmospheric composition. It is an invaluable record of climate change.

You can listen to Professor Barbante and myself talking about the project in this recent radio interview with Deutsche Welle and read more about the work here:

https://venice.sciencegallery.com/events/ice-breaker-art-and-science-workshop

https://venice.sciencegallery.com/news/dancing-art-and-environmental-science

209 Women: Open Eye Gallery

209_OpenEye

209 Women exhibition is opening today at Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool. 209 portraits of female MP’s taken by 209 female photographers, including my camera obscura portrait of Rachel Reeves, MP for Leeds West. Moving from its original location at the Houses of Parliament the exhibition is really worth a visit.

https://openeye.org.uk/

Venice Science Gallery: Earth Water Sky residency

Underwater artist Emma Critchley (UK) is the first winner of the three year EARTH WATER SKY residency programme. The jury awarded it to her for ‘the originality and beauty’ of her proposed project which in the words of Professor Carlo Barbante was the most evocative of the Ice Memory project which he leads.

Both Professor Michele Bugliesi, Rector of Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, and Science Gallery Venice’s Director Anna Puccio, consider the residency programme a true added value to the developing Venetian Science Gallery. “We deeply thank the Martine et Didier Primat Foundation for the unique opportunity to host the first three year residency for artists of the whole Network”.

Continue reading here: https://venice.sciencegallery.com/news/emma-critchley-wins-earth-water-sky-residency

Beneath the Waves Radio 4 documentary

Radio4

I’ve been making a programme for Radio 4 about artists who work underwater, which comes out on the 12th November.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00013nr

Artist Emma Critchley meets filmmakers, photographers, sculptors and painters who are drawn beneath the sea to create underwater art.

Julie Gautier performs a graceful, lyrical ballet on the floor of the deepest pool in the world. Without a tank of air or mask, she dances magically through crystal-clear waters across a sunken stage.

In the azure waters of the world, sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor uses the seabed as his canvas. He has installed hundreds of life-sized, concrete people on the sea floor. Fish weave through his couple playing on sea-saw, tourists taking photographs or migrants huddling in a raft. As Jason works towards the opening of his first cold water installation, Emma asks what draws him to the sea, the meaning of his work and how audiences can engage with underwater art.

She explores the unpredictability of working with the sea, hearing stories of storms, seasickness and near drowning.

Suzi Winstanley is petrified of the deep, but her passion for documenting wildlife has taken her to the remotest and coldest places in the world. With fellow artist Olly Williams, they collaborate to paint, lightning-fast, their experience of encountering white shark and leopard sea.

Emma braves the wintery British waters to talk concentration, boundaries and time with artist Peter Matthews who immerses himself in the ocean for hours, sometimes days, floating with his drawing board and paper.

Sunlight dances on the twisting fabrics of headless bodies in photographer Estabrak’s pictures. For her, working in Oman, underwater is the only safe space to tell stories.

For some the pull of the sea is political, for others environmental, but all the artists find extraordinary freedom in this huge untapped underwater world.

Producer: Sarah Bowen

209 Women

209 Women End Card

Fantastic to be part of the 209 Women project, photographing Rachel Reeves, MP for Leeds West.

Marking 100 years since some women achieved the right to vote, Open Eye Gallery in collaboration with photographer Hilary Wood are replacing the entire contemporary art collection at the Palace of Westminster with new photos of every female MP, shot exclusively by female photographers, and making it free and open to the public.

On 14th December 1918 women voted for the first time, and in the same year the first female MP was elected. 100 years on, this project marks that significant moment in history, whilst also highlighting the ongoing need for gender equality across society.209 Women is a national artist-led project that aims to champion the visibility of women, particularly in male-dominated environments, and challenges issues surrounding gender inequality. The exhibition will hang in the Palace of Westminster from 14th December to February 2019.

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