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
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/
I’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:
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.
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