France, USA, Portugal / 2023
50 min. / Original version with English subtitles
Evolution and extinction from the point of view of rocks and various future others: LAST THINGS introduces the geo-biosphere as a place of evolutionary possibility, where humans disappear but life endures.
Catalyzed by two novellas by J.-H. Rosny, joint pseudonym of the Belgian brothers Boex who wrote sci-fi before it was a genre, the film takes up their pluralist vision of evolution, where imagining prehistory is inseparable from envisioning the future. Also formative were Roger Caillois’s writing on stones, Clarice Lispector’s “The Hour of the Star,” Robert Hazen’s mineral evolution theory, the symbiosis theory of Lynn Margulis, Donna Haraway’s multi-species scenarios, Hazel Barton’s research on cave microbes, and Marcia Bjørnerud’s thoughts on time literacy.
In one way or another, these thinkers have all sought to displace humankind from the center of evolutionary processes. Passages from Rosny and interviews with Bjørnerud form the film’s spine. Stones are its anchor. We trust stone as archive, but we may as well write on water. In the end, it’s particles that remain.
Production Deborah Stratman, Anže Peržin, Gaëlle Boucand. Production companies Pythagoras Film (Chicago, USA), Stenar Projects (Lissabon, Portugal), Elinka Films (Paris, France). Director Deborah Stratman. Screenplay Deborah Stratman. Cinematography Deborah Stratman. Editing Deborah Stratman. Sound design Deborah Stratman. Sound Simon Apostolou. With Valérie Massadian, Marcia Bjørnerud.
Artist and filmmaker Deborah Stratman makes work that investigates issues of power, control and belief, exploring how places, ideas, and society are intertwined. She regards sound as the ultimate multi-tool and time to be supernatural. Recent projects have addressed freedom, surveillance, public speech, sinkholes, levitation, orthoptera, raptors, comets, evolution, extinction, exodus, sisterhood, and faith. Stratman’s films and artworks have been exhibited and awarded internationally. She lives in Chicago where she teaches at the University of Illinois. This is her fourth participation with Forum Expanded.
Films: 1990: My Alchemy (7 min.). 1991: Upon a Time (10 min.). 1992: A Letter (7 min.), Possibilities, Dilemmas (10 min.), the train from la to la (8 min.). 1993: In Flight: Day No. 2,128 (2 min.), Palimpsest (3 min.). 1994: Waking (7 min.). 1995: Iolanthe (5 min.), On the Various Nature of Things (25 min.). 1997: From Hetty to Nancy (44 min.). 1999: the BLVD (64 min.). 2001: Untied (3 min.). 2002: In Order Not to Be Here (33 min.). 2003: Energy Country (15 min.). 2004: Kings of the Sky (68 min.). 2005: How Among the Frozen Words (1 min.). 2006: It Will Die Out in the Mind (4 min.). 2007: The Magician’s House (6 min.). 2008: Butter and Tomatoes (4 min.), The Memory (2 min.). 2009: O’er the Land (52 min.). 2010: Kuyenda N’Kubvina (40 min.), FF (3 min.), Shrimp Chicken Fish (5 min.), Ray’s Birds (7 min.). 2011: …These Blazeing Starrs! (14 min.), A Throb (1 min.). 2012: Village, silenced (7 min.), The Name is not the Thing named (11 min.). 2013: Musical Insects (7 min.), Immortal, Suspended (6 min.). 2014: Hacked Circuit (15 min.), Second Sighted (5 min.). 2016: The Illinois Parables (60 min., Forum Expanded 2016), Xenoi (15 min.). 2017: Siege (7 min.). 2018: Optimism (15 min., Forum Expanded 2018). 2019: Vever (for Barbara) (12 min., Forum Expanded 2019). 2021: For the Time Being (7 min.), Laika (5 min.). 2023: Last Things.