Geomancers Screening Programme

  • Liu Chuang: Can Sound Be Currency, film still 2021

  • Chu Hao Pei: Inventing Miracle - Rice to Power, film still 2021

  • Pedro Neves Marques: Semente Exterminadora (The Exterminator Seed), film still 2017

  • Pedro Neves Marques: Semente Exterminadora (The Exterminator Seed), film still 2017

  • Zarina Muhammad & Zachary Chan: earth, land, sea and sky as palimpsest, film still 2021

  • Carolina Caycedo & David de Rozas: The Teaching of the Hands, film still 2020

  • Carolina Caycedo & David de Rozas: The Teaching of the Hands, film still 2020

  • Robert Zhao Renhui: Still from And A Great Sign Appeared, 2021, Courtesy of the artist and ShanghART Gallery.

  • Rice Brewing Sisters Club, still from Mountain Storytellers, Storyteller Mountains: A Tale Theatre, 15 min 37 sec, HD color with sound.

  • Rice Brewing Sisters Club, still from Mountain Storytellers, Storyteller Mountains: A Tale Theatre, 15 min 37 sec, HD color with sound.

  • Martha Atienza: Panangatan 11°09’53.3”N 123°42’40.5”E 2019-10-24, film still 2019

Geomancers Screening

When: at 17:30 on Wednesday 5 October 2022

Where: Finnkino Maxim, auditorium 2, Kluuvikatu 1, Helsinki

Free admission, limited number of seats

Information about the screening >>

Facebook event

Films will be screened in the order below with approximate times

17:30 Welcoming words / Executive director and curator Paula Toppila, IHME Helsinki

17:40 MARTHA ATIENZA: Panangatan 11°09’53.3”N 123°42’40.5”E 2019-10-24 Thu 6:42 am pst 1.29 meters high tide, 2019-10-12 sat 10:26 am pst 1.40 meters high tide 2019, 9 min

The short cut of a mesmerizing 307-minute long video, Martha Atienza’s work is a coastal circumnavigation of Panangatan, a small island off the shores of Bantanyan Island, at the centre of the Philippines. Panangatan is the crucible of an ongoing dispute between local communities, profit-driven development, and the government’s fluctuating environmental politics. In this experimental film Atienza captures the brunt of sea level rise and profit-driven development on small island communities in the Philippines. Devoid of narrative and sound the film lays bare the state of dilapidation and disrepair fishermen villages are struggling with due to anthropogenic changes.

The artistic practice of Martha Atienza (b. 1981, Philippines) documents and questions issues of environmental change, displacement, cultural loss, and socioeconomic disparities, often addressing the complex reality of Bantayan Island, the place of origin of her family. Strongly collaborative in nature, her artworks prompt a critical understanding of the impact of development on human and natural ecosystems through videos, immersive installations, and community engagement projects. They have been featured in numerous international exhibitions such as the Honolulu Biennial, United States (2019); Taipei Biennial, Taiwan (2018–19); and Mercosul Biennial, Brazil (2018). In 2017, Atienza was awarded the Baloise Art Prize at Art Basel. She was Artist-in-Residence at NTU CCA Singapore in 2018.

17:50 ZARINA MUHAMMAD AND ZACHARY CHAN: earth, land, sky and sea as palimpsest 2021, 17 min 37 sec

Ecological disruptions within the largely urbanized context of Singapore surface in earth, land, sky and sea as palimpsest. Collaboratively created by Zarina Muhammad and Zachary Chan, the video performs a meandering meditation on the loss, but also the resilience, of ecological and spiritual realities confronted with the sprawl of modern infrastructures. Charting inclusive ecologies, the work subtly suggests that, while we are constantly distracted by rapid urban development, many trees are older than our buildings and spiritual landscapes find a way to survive within modern urban infrastructures.

Zarina Muhammad (b. 1982, Singapore) is an artist, educator, and researcher whose practice is deeply entwined with a critical re-examination of oral histories, ethnographic literature, and historiographic accounts of Southeast Asia. Working at the intersection of performance, installation, text, ritual, sound, and moving image, she is interested in the contexts where myth-making, haunted historiographies, multi-species entanglements grow and develop. She has presented her performances and installations at venues such as Singapore Art Museum (2019); Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, Taiwan (2019); and Indonesia Contemporary Art Network, Yogyakarta (2018). She was an Artist-in-Residence at NTU CCA Singapore in 2019.

Zachary Chan (b.1990, Singapore) is a graphic designer and the co-founder of the design collective He is also a sound designer and an occasional composer and musician. As a musician, he has performed with The Observatory, the Bhaskar’s Arts Academy, Zarina Muhammad, Tini Aliman, and Singa Nglaras Gamelan Ensemble. As a composer, he has participated in the Singapore Night Festival (2019) and in the first International Gamelan Festival, Surakarta, Indonesia (2018).

18:08 RICE BREWING SISTERS CLUB: Mountain Storytellers, Storytelling Mountains: A Tale Theatre 2020 15 min 37 sec

The practice of the South Korean eco-feminist collective Rice Brewing Sisters Club seeks to activate collective processes to explore new social relations and environmental practices. Realised in collaboration with local residents, the first experimental video of the collective weaves together oral histories, folk tales, poems, and agricultural wisdom harvested in Deokgeo-ri, a small rural community in the north-eastern region of Gangwon (South Korea). The work is structured in seven short chapters, in each of which residents of a South Korean rural community and other non-human actors enact local folkloric tales. Imbued with a playful and whimsical sense of the communal the work offers an insight into alternative worldviews made of sustainable practices and ecological belief systems. The tales used in the video can be read in Korean and English here >>

Currently comprising Hyemin Son, Aletheia Hyun-Jin Shin, and Soyoon Ryu, Rice Brewing Sisters Club (RBSC) is a collective established in 2018 around the members’ crossing interests in experimenting with the processes of ‘social fermentation’ as an artistic form. With a participatory practice encompassing visual arts, performance, creative writing, oral history, ecological thinking, and auntie’s wisdoms, RBSC seek to build sustainable relationships and synergetic networks to co-create shared visions for the future.

18:24 CAROLINA CAYCEDO AND DAVID DE ROZAS: The Teaching of the Hands 2020, 47 min

In the experimental documentary The Teaching of the Hands, Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas summon up the cosmological consciousness of indigenous people—here voiced by Juan Mancias, the Chairman of the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas—to counter a colonial approach to the land based on surveying techniques and extractivist plans.

Carolina Caycedo (1978) is a Colombian, London-born, multidisciplinary artist known for her performances, videos, artist’s books, sculptures, and installations that examine environmental and social issues. Her work contributes to the construction of environmental historical memory as a fundamental element for non-repetition of violence against human and nonhuman entities. Caycedo is currently a nominee for the Artes Mundi 10 prize in Wales. She lives and works in Los Angeles.

David de Rozas (b. 1979, Spain/United States) is a multidisciplinary artist, filmmaker, and educator. Merging experimental documentary and contemporary art forms, his practice explores the frictions between history and memory, revisiting the history of colonization and the tensions inherent in processes of decolonization. His films have been screened in international film festivals such as Visions du Réel; True/False; Sheffield DocFest; and Kassel DocFest (all 2018). His international awards include the Jury Award for Best Short Documentary at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2019 and the Best Experimental Film Award at the Smithsonian African American Film Festival 2018. Rozas is the recipient of the 2020 VIA Art Fund Artist Grant. In 2021, he was Artist in Residence at Headlands Center for the Arts in San Francisco.


19:30 PEDRO NEVES MARQUES: Semente Exterminadora (Exterminator Seed) 2017, 28 min

Semente Exterminadora (Exterminator Seed) is a piece of speculative fiction that envisions a near future where human life unfolds among ecological disasters, transgenic cultivations, and androids. The narrative follows Capivara, an offshore oil rig worker who is evacuated back to Rio de Janeiro after an industrial accident, an oil spill which now threatens the Brazilian coast unbeknownst to the local population. After encountering YWY, a woman from the indigenous Guajajara nation, Capivara travels with her to Mato Grosso do Sul, her homeland, in search for employment in the extensive monoculture plantations. Against the backdrop of industrial agriculture, genetic colonialism, and shared prospects of infertility, the intimate interaction between the main characters engenders a queering of the borders between the natural and the artificial.

Through storytelling, image-making, and poetry, the work of Pedro Neves Marques (b. Portugal, 1984) focuses on the politics of nature, technology, and gender, bridging social and historical analyses with a deep emotional care for personal relations and intimacies. Spanning filmmaking, installation, editing, and writing, their oeuvre speculates on the future of the natural world through the lens of distinct and often contradictory cosmologies, scientific fictions, and histories. In recent years, they have had solo presentations at CA2M in Madrid, CaixaForum Barcelona (2021), High Line, New York (2020); and Castello di Rivoli, Turin, (2019), and their films have circulated at film festivals worldwide, such as the New York, Toronto, and Rotterdam film festivals. They were the Official Portuguese Representation – Portugal Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022.

19:58 URSULA BIEMANN: Acoustic Ocean 2018, 18 min

Acoustic Ocean explores the underwater soundscape of the Lofoten Islands in Northern Norway bringing us closer to the acoustic life of this “insomniac territory” for long believed to be silent. In the film’s narrative, the Aquanaut—a semi-fictional marine biologist interpreted by singer and environmental activist Sofia Jannok—performs the ritual placement of hydrophones, parabolic microphones, and other recording devices along the shore to sense the sonic expressions of multiform sea creatures. Turning to the land, she also reveals the effects of climatic shifts on the Sami people, a Northern Scandinavian indigenous community she belongs to. The work brings to the surface the density of signs and the meaningful vocalisations expressed by the inhabitants of the earth’s liquid universe paving the way for new relations between human and non-human lifeforms.

Grounded in a research-based practice and extended fieldwork in remote locations, Ursula Biemann (b. 1955, Switzerland) creates video essays and texts that investigate environmental interconnections across local and planetary contexts focusing especially on water and forest ecologies and extractivist practices. Since 2018, Biemann has been involved in co-creating an indigenous university in the Colombian Amazon for which she developed the online platform Devenir Universidad. Her works are regularly exhibited in museums and biennials worldwide and she received comprehensive solo exhibitions at MAMAC, Nice, France (2021); Broad Art Museum, Lansing, United States (2019); and Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Germany (2013). She received the Prix Meret Oppenheim in 2009.

20:16 LIU CHUANG: Can Sound be Currency? 2021, 19 min 43 sec

In Can Sound be Currency?, the mountainous landscape of the Sichuan province resonates with sounds of diverse origin and nature: atmospheric and animal, human and artificial. The film’s sonic landscape is composed to evoke the complex entanglement between humans and nature, the cosmological views and linguistic diversity of indigenous communities, and the evolving ways in which sounds express spiritual significance and shape interspecies relations. Set in a territory rich with ethnic minorities, the work also addresses the changes and losses endured by local communities in the face of fast-paced economic development.

Working across sculpture, video, performance, and installation, Liu Chuang (b. 1978, China) is a keen interpreter of the social, economic, and environmental implications of globalization in contemporary China. Oriented by a critical and poetic sensibility, his practice engages manifold realities charting the systemic structures that underlie people’s everyday experience of modernity in a rapidly evolving society. His work has been exhibited at venues such as Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan (2020); Guangdong Times Museum, Guangzhou, China (2019); Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2019), and K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong (2018).

20:36 CHU HAO PEI: Inventing Miracle – The Rice to Power 2021, 9 min 59 sec

A dietary mainstay across Asia, rice is the common grain which is familiar to all. Inventing Miracle: The Rice to Power unpacks relations between rice and politics in Southeast Asia at the peak of the Cold War. Overlooked in many historical accounts of the era, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), a U.S.-backed institution, was established in the early 1960s in the Philippines. Through crossbreeding and genetic manipulation, the IRRI engineered a high-yielding variety of rice—IR8, popularized as ‘Miracle Rice’—to avert impending food crises and assert the dominance of the United States in the region. Lacing together archival footage related to this initiative, Inventing Miracle shows how rice technology has been employed as a strategic tool at the service of geopolitical agendas.

Chu Hao Pei (b.1990, Singapore) is a visual artist whose works are primarily influenced by his long-standing interest in the interrelations between culture and the environment. Hao Pei’s practice explores the shifting physical, sociological and emotional connections with our natural and urban landscapes. His works shed light on the overlooked and accidental by interweaving the processes of engagement, documentation and research to examine the complexities of environmental and cultural loss (or resurgence) shaped by political, economic and social factors. Hao Pei uses certain methods of documentation and representation to reveal aspects of his subject, while also both concealing and drawing attention to what cannot yet be communicated or understood.

20:46 ROBERT ZHAO RENHUI: And A Great Sign Appeared 2021, 4 min 52 sec

In ancient times, the observation of birds in flight was used in divinatory practices to decipher the present and foretell the future. And A Great Sign Appeared captures the sudden arrival of thousands of Asian openbill storks in Singapore from northern parts of Southeast Asia on 22 December 2019. The artist followed the birds’ week-long futile and ultimately unsuccessful search for a suitable roosting site in the densely populated city-state. As we become increasingly aware that environmental changes and a drastic reduction of resources in their native lands are altering the behavioural patterns and migration routes of many species, the work invites us to ponder on the possible meanings of this unexpected occurrence and on the uncertain future that awaits the planet.

Robert Zhao Renhui (b. 1983, Singapore) is a multi-disciplinary artist and the founder of The Institute of Critical Zoologists. Focussing on the human relationship with nature, his artistic practice challenges accepted parameters of objectivity and scientific modes of classifications, exploring the complexity of ecological entanglements and the far-reaching repercussions of human interventions. His work has been exhibited in international exhibitions such as the Busan Biennale, South Korea (2020); 6th Singapore Biennale (2019–20); and 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Brisbane, Australia (2018–19), among many others. His Final Report of the Christmas Island Expert Working Group was presented at NTU CCA Singapore in 2018. He was Artist-in-Residence at NTU CCA Singapore in 2017–18.

Additional information about the screening and curators

This Film program was conceived as part of Free Jazz IV: Geomancers (14-23 January 2022), a multimedia exhibition produced by NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore and curated by Anna Lovecchio and Magdalena Magiera.

Anna Lovecchio is a curator and art historian based in Singapore, currently Assistant Director (Programmes) at NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore. She joined the Centre in 2016 as Curator of the Residencies Programme, an international platform dedicated to fostering artistic research and critical discourse. Previously, she was Junior Curator at Villa Croce Museum of Contemporary Art in Genoa, Italy, where she has worked on solo exhibitions by Tomás Saraceno, Tony Conrad, Susan Philipsz, Pino Pascali, Julieta Aranda, and Zhang Enli, amongst others. From 2007 to 2008, she was Executive Editor of the art journal Around Photography International. She holds a PhD in the history of contemporary art from the University of Bologna, Italy, and a MA in Contemporary Art and Museum Studies from Tufts University, Boston, United States.

Magdalena Magiera is currently Curator and Research Associate at NTU CCA Singapore. Her practice and expertise encompasses a wide range of disciplines, including exhibition-making and venue building; developing process-based research; organising lectures and conferences; and staging events and performances. She has worked with institutions throughout Europe, North America, and Asia, including biennales, museums, and artist-run spaces. She developed projects with Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai; documenta (13); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Kulturprojekte Berlin e.V.; e-flux in Berlin, Mexico City, and New York City; and frieze d/e. She is currently Editor of mono.kultur, a Berlin-based interview magazine, which profiles leading figures in contemporary art and culture.

IHME Helsinki has been granted EcoCompass certificate. We are committed in saving natural resources so we have not invited the artists and the curators to be present. The emissions of the event will be compensated.

IHME Helsinki thanks the curators and artists for the opportunity to present the Geomancers screening programme in Helsinki.