Wednesday 25 april 11 pm  Palazzo Re Enzo

Ben Rivers (GB)
Slow Action
expanded cinema, italian première

Slow Action is a post-apocalyptic science fiction film that lies somewhere between documentary, ethnographic study and fiction. Shown as a four-screen projection during Live Arts Week, Slow Action is a panorama of extraordinary settings which evoke a remote terrestrial future. Slow Action applies the idea of island biogeography - the study of how species and eco-systems evolve differently when isolated and surrounded by unsuitable habitat - to a conception of the Earth in a few hundred years; the sea level rising to absurd heights, creating hyperbolic utopias that appear as possible future mini-societies.

 Slow Action is filmed at different sites across the globe: Lanzarote - a beautiful strange island known for its beach resorts yet one of the driest places on the planet, full of dead volcanoes and strange architecture; Gunkanjima - an island off the coast of Nagasaki, Japan, a deserted city built on a rock, once home to thousands of families mining its rich coal reserves; Tuvalu - one of the smallest countries in the world, with tiny strips of land barely above sea level in the middle of the Pacific; and Somerset - an as yet to be discovered island and its various clades.

  This series of constructed realities explores the environments of self-contained lands and the search for information to enable the reconstruction of soon to be lost worlds. 

The film’s soundtrack - narratives by writer Mark von Schlegell - detail each of the four islands’ evolutions according to their geographical, geological, climatic and botanical conditions.

 Slow Action, inspired by novels such as Samuel Butler’s Erewhon, Bacon’s The New Atlantis, Herbert Read’s The Green Child and Mary Shelley’s The Last Man, embodies the spirit of exploration, experiment and active research that has come to characterise Rivers’ practice.

commissioned by Picture This and Animate Projects in association with Matt’s Gallery, London

Ben Rivers, British artist and filmmaker, embodies the love/hate relationship – a fatal attraction – between the worlds of cinema and visual art. Ben Rivers makes films, strictly in 16mm, and presents them both in prestigious art centres and in the most important international film festivals with equal success. From the point of view of visual culture, Rivers carries on the long British tradition of archaisms and a fascination with the countryside and its landscapes. He reintroduces these, however, as the background of an imaginary place peopled by alien and disturbing figures and apparitions which seem to emerge from a dark past, recalling both science fiction and exoticism. From a cinematographic point of view he explores the boundaries between disparate genres:  horror, science fiction, ethnographic documentary, thriller, noir. Far from separating into different production lines, these two viewpoints join into single works which explore other worlds, skilfully created from the simple fragments and mysterious hints of daily life. His latest film, Two Years at Sea, was presented at the Venice International Film Festival in 2011.