Spirits Still & The Last Judgement
“The images in Spirits Still are both unanticipated and unsolicited. Their frames have been frozen, grabbed from the ephemerality of a moving picture. Leviathan was shot at sea, and in the sea. Stopping and starting willy nilly at different points in our footage, moving backwards and forwards a frame at a time, we were arrested by the apparitions with which we were confronted. Apparitions invisible when moving at the speed of “real” time. After finishing the film, these found-images refused to let up their hold on us. We trawled through all 130,500 frames of Leviathan, isolating 686 pictures which haunted us afresh. A dozen of these pictures are projected in this exhibition.” – Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Véréna Paravel
The Last Judgement
An apocalyptic vision of the vertiginous intermingling of the sea and the sky. The elements amalgamate and disaggregate, impossible perspectives collide and divide.
He Maketh a Path to Shine after Him; One Would Think the Deep to be Hoary
An archaeology of both the ocean and the image, this piece reworks the sequences of Leviathan that were shot in and from the sea. Projected at 1/50 of the speed at which they were recorded, it simultaneously slows movement and animates the still, revealing a liminal universe at the threshold of human vision. In this flux, one beholds a netherworld of aqueous forms that appear in one frame and disappear or transmogrify into something else in the next.
Format: HD video
Running time: 360 min
“Humanity is haunted by the sea… It is a threshold that mediates between life and death, upper and lower, the aereal and the aqueous… It is infinitely beautiful, yet disquietingly deep."
–Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Véréna Paravel
Canst Thou Draw Out Leviathan with a Hook? is a project that stems from a year spent at sea filming with industrial fishermen from New England. In portraying the labor of fishing, it participates in a longstanding history of transforming fisherfolk into images, one that goes back to the beginnings of photography. Yet it resists both the romanticism and the anthropocentrism of this tradition, striving instead for a less sentimental relationship between the human and the pelagic, and to afford equal aesthetic attention and ontological weight to the human, the ecological, and the industrial.
In the waters where Melville’s Pequod gave chase to Moby Dick, Leviathan captures the collaborative clash of man, nature, and machine. Shot on a dozen cameras – tossed and tethered, passed from fisherman to filmmaker – it is a cosmic portrait of one of mankind’s oldest endeavors.
Running time: 87 min
Lucien Castaing-Taylor, born 1966 in Liverpool, UK
Véréna Paravel, born 1971 in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, both live and work in Cambridge, USA.