Back in October 2020 I was invited to be in conversation with the 2nd Earth Water Sky artist in residence Haseeb Ahmed. Chaired by the curator/producer of the Earth Water Sky residency programme, Ariane Koek, and hosted by Science Gallery Venice, we spoke about our respective practices, the process of working with scientists through the residency, and our approaches to the respective themes of water and sky. You can watch the talk here.
I’ve been making a programme for Radio 4 about artists who work underwater, which comes out on the 12th November.
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
As part of the Life of Breath Project and the Being Human Festival…
Raptures of the Deep
Free-divers can seem like super humans. They have extraordinary, seemingly implausible, control over their bodies, particularly their breathing, and offer a fascinating insight into the connection between mind and body. A series of short films featuring record breakers including Johanna Nordblad and Guillaume Néry and our guest Liv Philip, will set the scene. Then we’ll discuss why the experience of losing the breath can both terrifying and exhilarating with champion freediver Liv Philip, artist Emma Critchley and researchers Rebecca Oxley and Arthur Rose.
23 November 2017, Durham
Over the next month Tate St Ives are showing a selection of my films that relate to themes drawn from Jessica Warboy’s work, particularly the large scale ‘Sea Paintings’.
Friday 11 August – Friday 1st September 2017
More information can be found on the Tate website: http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-st-ives/film/film-friday
I’m very happy to announce that the project Human/Nature, developed as part of the Culture & Climate Change: Scenarios Residency Programme has just received funding from Jerwood Charitable Foundation for the film’s production.
Filming started last month at the ALMA observatory in the Atacama Desert
Culture and Climate Change is supported by The Open University OpenSpace Research Centre, The University of Sheffield School of Architecture, The Ashden Trust, Jerwood Charitable Foundation and the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures.
We are currently looking for inspiring women working in the field of deep sea and space exploration to be the voices of this new artist’s film project.
Human / Nature is set around two critical frontiers of today: deep sea and space – romanticised stages, which are at the same time present-day borders of conquest for mineral resources and territory. The work will ask questions about the fantasies we construct and investigate the intimate relationship between exploration and exploitation.
Shot on location in underwater training habitats, these rehearsal spaces provide the visual backdrop for the film’s fragmented dialogue that interweaves narratives from the history of space and deep-sea exploration – real and fantasy. The script will explore how reverberant layers of industrialisation and colonialism have affected the way we relate to our environment – both immediate and distant. Narrated by female pioneers of deep sea and space exploration, the work will open up alternatives to these legacies in a poetic montage, which in turn poses questions about our current state and how we should move forward into these frontiers.
Human/Nature is being developed as part of the Culture & Climate Change residency, which is supported by The Open University Open Space Research Centre, The University of Sheffield School of Architecture, the Ashden Trust, Jerwood Charitable Foundation and the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures.
Jennifer Brea’s fine documentary is about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It chronicles her own struggles will the illness while adding a global perspective.
I did some underwater filming for this amazing project that will soon be screened in UK cinemas.
Find out more about the project here: http://www.unrest.film