SUBATLANTIC| 2015

VIDEO ESSAY 11 MIN.

 

The science fictional video essay unfolds across the Subatlantic, the latest climatic phase of the Holocene that began about 2,500 years ago and is still ongoing. With its peaks and drops, this climatic period has registered major civilizational changes and movements, juxtaposing the science of geology and climatology with human history. The voice-over alludes to a she-scientist who is making instrumental observations about a changing environment around the last glacial melts. From an increasingly submerged place of oceanic observation, her objects of examination are as much the physical world and atmosphere that is engulfing her as the thoughts that are formed, reconfigured or released under the changing conditions.

Subatlantic, of course, also means the submerged space of the Atlantic Ocean. Set in the Shetland Islands, Greenland’s Disco Bay and a tiny Caribbean Island, the video implicates far apart locations yet connected through invisible Ocean streams, which determine the temperatures in the North Atlantic, sea and land. The video addresses two submerged dynamics that ensue from the melting of the Arctic ice, the slowing down of the Ocean streams and the release of massive new genetic materials that have been locked in the ice sheets for longer than human time. In both instances, the dynamics driving these physical processes are non-localized and invisible to our eye.

In this short essay, global warming is explored through Manuel De Landa’s “Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy” and Timothy Morton’s “Hyperobject.”

 

Showing in the 9th Imagine Science Film Festival, American Museum of Natural History, NY, October 14 - November 21, 2016; 

Kasseler Docfest, November 15-20, 2016;

The Ocean After Nature, School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, Boston, January 26 - March 18, 2017

The Ocean After Nature at Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum, Adelaide, AUS, March 3 - June 9, 2017; 

 

"The Anthropocene can be seen as an update on Manifest Destiny, but artists' critical perspectives, taken out of social context or poetically romanticized, can sometimes be interpreted as celebratory. This is not the case in Ursula Biemann's Subatlantic (2015), a concise and dramatic fictional narration of an anonymous female scientist's experience above and beneath the surface. Like the sea itself, a sense of continual movement pervaces bot the beautiful images and Biemann's crystal clear analysis of the future Atlantic."
      Lucy R. Lippard  (At Sea: Circulation, Containment, Complicity)

 

Late Subatlantic - Science Poetry in Times of Global Warming

1' video excerpt from Subatlantic

 

Stills