‘The Bird and the Elephant’ is my new film which celebrates the legacy of the iconic Coventry Sports & Leisure Centre, through an underwater performance; a swan song to the space. Featuring ballet dancer William Moore performing an underwater choreographed dance inspired by the stories and memories of the Coventry Baths community the film will be shown outdoors over two weekends in November as part of Coventry UK City of Culture.
The screenings will take place at The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry and Starley Gardens, Coventry (with Coventry University & CineCov) on the evenings of 11th – 13th and 26th – 27th November 2021 respectively.
To accompany the film screenings there will be a series of free dance workshops for young people aged 13 – 21 with ballet dancer Tom Rogers (Birmingham Royal Ballet) and an artist in conversation event with Heidi Saarinen (dancer and architecture academic, Coventry University) and myself chaired by Anthony Luvera (artist & professor of photography, Coventry University.)
The screenings taking place at Starley Gardens will be accompanied by a special programme of short films curated by Flatpack Festival.
The Bird and the Elephant project was funded by Arts Council England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and Coventry City of Culture Trust and supported by the Oral History Society.
The Coventry city screenings are presented in partnership with The Belgrade Theatre and Coventry University and part of Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 and Flatpack Festival’s CineCov programme supported by Coventry Business Improvement District.
Witness, the film I created through my Earth Water Sky residency, will be shown as a dual-screen installation at Sala del Camino Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice, Italy, presented by Science Gallery Venice at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, 16th September – 3rd October 2021.
The exhibition will be open Thursday – Sunday, 15:00 – 19:00 (on 16th, 17th and 18th September the exhibition closes to the public at the earlier time of 18:00)
My new film, Witness, created during my Earth Water Sky residency with Science Gallery Venice at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, premiered in the Italian Pavilion, live online and in person, on 24th July 2021. The screening was part of the Resilient Communities programme, an event organised in the context of the Italian Pavilion at the 17th International Exhibition of Architecture at La Biennale di Venezia.
The work is premised on the examination of an ice core as the post mortem of a glacier, drawing connections between the human body and the body of ice through movement, sound and words.
My partner on the residency was climate scientist Carlo Barbante at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and his Ice Memory Team. The Ice Memory Project is a global initiative to create an archive of ice cores from glaciers that are rapidly disappearing.
You can watch the introduction to the film by myself and Ariane Koek, one of the invited Creative Directors of CITYX VENICE, the official Italian Virtual pavilion, and the curator/producer of Witness here: https://www.facebook.com/100876598609867/videos/518992852765648.
The Earth Water Sky programme is fully funded by Fondation Didier et Martine Primat.
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.
Aesthetica Short Film Festival have published an article on Common Heritage my film about the imminent gold-rush of deep-sea mining for rare earth minerals and the potential ensuing environmental impact. The film was shortlisted for the Aesthetica Short Film Award 2019 and more recently for the AHRC Research in Film Awards 2020 in the Climate Emergency category. https://www.asff.co.uk/underwater-exploration/
Back in September I spoke to Studio International Magazines’s Nicola Homer about my Earth Water Sky residency, working with the Ice Memory Project and filming in the world’s deepest indoor pool. You can read the full article here: https://www.studiointernational.com/index.php/emma-critchley-interview-being-underwater-where-everything-completely-shifts-interests-me
I’ll be taking part in this online exhibition launching on 16th November, looking at how spending extra time at home is effecting the way that artists think about and make work.
The artworks will be seen exhibited in the artists’ own homes viewable on instagram via curatorial research programme @rentedbythehour.
My film about the imminent gold rush of deep-sea mining for rare earth minerals, Common Heritage, has been shortlisted for the AHRC Research in Film Awards 2020 in the Climate Emergency category. Winners announced 11th November.
Common Heritage was conceived during a research residency with Culture & Climate Change: Future Scenarios, funded by the Jerwood Arts, the University of Sheffield, Open University, Grantham Sustainable Futures and the Ashden Trust.
I recently spoke to curator Ariane Koek about what I’ve been working on so far for my Earth Water Sky residency for a talk as part of the Science Gallery Venice’s online programme. You can hear about how I collaborated with The Ice Memory Project, working with ice core scientists and how this informed the film I am making with three dancers, filmed underwater in the deepest pool in the world.
You can watch the talk online here: In conversation with Earth Water Sky curator Ariane Koek:
Earth Water Sky Venice exhibition postponed
The Earth Water Sky residency Venice exhibition, which was originally scheduled for this autumn, is now planned to take place in May 2021, more details about that coming early next year.
I’ve been making another programme for Radio 4 over the last few months, this time about artists working with pollution, which is being broadcast tomorrow at 11.30am. In the programme I talk with a number of international contemporary artists to discuss the work they are making in response to pollution and the ‘crisis of filth’. We discuss the relationship between art and activism, going beyond facts and figures to face head on and experience the contamination we are inflicting on the planet. I also talk about a new project I’m developing in collaboration with Lee Berwick called The Space Below, which opens in March. Lee and I are creating a large sound installation underneath the River Thames in the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, which explores the polluted soundscape of the sea.
Listen here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000dpjh