SUNDAY 2 MAY
10:00 – 11:40 BST
Nine urgent dispatches on care, healing and mutualism, curated by a group of six young people in the Scottish Borders – Esmé Babineaux, Amèlie Berry, Xander Cowan, Hannah Dodd, Ryan Murdie, and Vaishnavi Ramu – as part of New Programmers, our mentorship programme facilitated by Alchemy curators Kerry Jones and Alix Rothnie.
Content warning: some flashing imagery; depictions of blood, physical restraint, police brutality.
by Esmé Babineaux, Amèlie Berry, Xander Cowan, Hannah Dodd, Ryan Murdie, and Vaishnavi Ramu with Alix Rothnie
Stepping into stagnant pools, glassy cities and dreich forests, the nine films in Stout Footwear Advised present urgent requests for new worlds, local futures and a yearning for home – of regeneration, dependency, survival and the unruly intimacy of nature.
Elise Guillaume’s Borderline parallels the complementary patterns of human and nonhuman forms, from tree limbs, spines and trunks, placing untamed nature adjacent to a clinical medical setting. The film reflects on these worlds as co-dependent, connected and combined – and how this relationship can enable rebirth and overcome pain.
As hands repeatedly strike, grab, grip, wander and work into an uneasy and spiralling ritual, Eva Giolo’s Flowers blooming in their throats presents small acts to feel human. Muted natural colours lull an idea of security and peace; the intimate, focused touch suggests an air of love. But abrupt sounds, aggressive movements and a recurring red wash unleash a harsh pressure, violent yet hidden.
Charlotte Pryce’s innocent observations of striders dancing on the water’s surface in Of this Beguiling Membrane similarly conceal darker glimpses of what lurks beneath. Inspired by Scottish folklorist Robert Kirk’s The Secret Commonwealth (1671), Pryce arranges a meeting with the mysterious spirits lying in wait. What happens when we tempt fate and provoke that which we aren’t supposed to see? A reminder of the dangerous seduction of beauty.
‘Far from our true nature’, ID Babylon peels off the blindfold and speaks to a reconnection with one’s roots and finding home inside oneself. Bringing together the voices of young people, Khevyn Ibrahim foregrounds the search for space outside of existing structures, exploring issues of extremism, nationalism, migration and the movement of people.
Inna Dmitrieva‘s Imprints of Absence is, in the filmmaker’s own words, ‘an attempt to reconcile a love of one’s city with the impossibility of returning there as home’. With a sense of distance, nostalgia and care, a city washed in blue develops, its corners turning into cyanotype photographs. Preserving image to preserve memory, the film explores the complicated relationship between where you are from and how much of it you carry with you.
Set to the black and white footage of a journey, Chantal Partamian’s Landing is a short poem about lovers in transit. With longing and patience in equal measure, the film shows fragments of a long-distance relationship, and what it’s like to be queer and exist between states.
Nicky Chue’s plant portals: breath opens new pathways to nature – to find space, to breathe and to heal. Rooted in practices of mindfulness, the film meditates on the unspoken histories carried by queer and trans people of colour: ‘existing is a heavy task’.
With a return to Scotland, Kate Foster and Pantea Shabahang’s Mending the Blanket is a playful illustrative and animated exploration of peatbog restoration in Southern Scotland. As a step-by-step educational guide to the history and use of peat, this Scottish-Iranian collaboration promotes the importance of preserving and replenishing the wetlands around us for sustainable and fruitful futures.
In Sudden Death, Rhona Mühlebach – an Alchemy artist-in-residence in 2019, during which she made The River, the Horse and the Woman – investigates phytophthora ramorum, a tree disease transmitted by rainwater and carried via rivers and streams. As a stylish experimental crime thriller shot with plenty of humour in Galloway Forest Park, the film comments on control, wilderness and the non-native. You’ll be wishing you had breakfast.
Elise Guillaume – 4’23 – Belgium – 2020
FLOWERS BLOOMING IN OUR THROATS
Eva Giolo – 8’37 – Italy – 2020
OF THIS BEGUILING MEMBRANE
Charlotte Pryce – 5’22 – USA – 2020
Khevyn Ibrahim – 11’27 – UK – 2020
Chantal Partamian – 2’24 – Canada – 2020
IMPRINTS OF ABSENCE
Inna Dmitrieva – 5’29 – USA – 2020
PLANT PORTALS: BREATH
Nicky Chue – 3’47 – UK – 2020
MENDING THE BLANKET
Kate Foster, Pantea Shabahang – 5’03 – Iran / Netherlands / Scotland – 2020
Rhona Mühlebach – 8’33 – Scotland – 2020