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Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh hosts UK premiere for Artists' Moving Image series
Louis Henderson, All That is Solid, 2014 still. Colour / B&W, 5.1 Surround, 16:9. 15 minutes. Courtesy of the artist and LUX.

EDINBURGH.- The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh hosts the UK premiere of a series of artist’s moving image work this winter: We Are Here: Future Ecologies.

We Are Here: Artists’ Moving Image from the British Council Collection and LUX interrogates how contemporary artists explore themes such as nationalism, marginality and intimacy through biography, documentary, poetry and fiction in film.

In a series of five artists’ film programmes that include compilations and individual installations, some of the UK’s most outstanding emerging and established artists disrupt old narratives and encourage new global discussions. The exhibition of Future Ecologies can be seen from 21 November 2020 - 28 February 2021 via bookable time slot.

Exhibiting artists include the 2018 Turner Prize winner and Scotland in Venice 2019 artist Charlotte Prodger, Uriel Orlow, Louis Henderson and Ben Rivers. We Are Here is curated by writer, curator and film programmer Tendai John Mutambu for the British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, and LUX, an international arts agency that supports and promotes artists’ moving image practices.

We Are Here is part of a three-year programme at RBGE, as it transforms Inverleith House into Climate House, a three-year programme of visual art, drawing attention to our global climate crisis, in partnership with the Serpentine Galleries and funded by Outset Contemporary Art Fund.

The line between yesterday’s utopias and tomorrow’s dystopias is a fine one; history’s mythic ideals have given way to our present predicament in the Anthropocene (the current geological age, in which humanity is the greatest environmental influence). Yet old myths persist in new, technologically smarter guises. Through a mix of documentary, fictional and poetic modes, the work in Future Ecologies brings together incisive views on the long historical arc of extraction and exploitation alongside several speculative projections for the future.

Named after the Southern African term for traditional medicine, Muthi (2016) by Uriel Orlow follows herbal medicine practices in rural and urban sites in South Africa’s Johannesburg, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. Meanwhile, Louis Henderson’s All That is Solid (2014) is a study of e-recycling and neo-colonial mining filmed in the Agbogbloshie electronic waste ground in Accra and illegal gold mines of Ghana. LHB (2017) marks the beginning of a period of research into the idea of ‘queer rurality’ for Charlotte Prodger. This idea relates to how queer lives are lived beyond the densely populated urban contexts that generally dominate LBGTQI+ narratives. Filmed inside Biosphere 2 in Arizona, Urth (2016) by Ben Rivers forms a cinematic meditation on ambitious experiments, constructed environments and visions of the future. Sci-fi writer Mark von Schlegell contributes a text – read as the final log instalments of a woman sealed inside an unforgiving environment. The film considers what an endeavour such as Biosphere 2 might mean today and in the near future, in terms of humankind’s relationship with the natural world.

We Are Here have been seen in Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Northern Ireland and Brazil, and are touring to China and New Zealand as well as to Edinburgh this year.

Louis Henderson is a filmmaker who is currently trying to find new ways of working with people to address and question our current global condition defined by racial capitalism and ever-present histories of the European colonial project. The working method is archaeological.

Uriel Orlow (b. 1973) lives and works between London, Lisbon and Zurich. Orlow’s practice is research-based, process-oriented and multi-disciplinary including film, photography, drawing and sound. He is known for single screen film works, lecture performances and modular, multi-media installations that focus on specific locations and micro-histories. His work is concerned with spatial manifestations of memory, blind spots of representation and forms of haunting.

Charlotte Prodger (b.1974, United Kingdom) is a Glasgow-based artist working with moving image, writing, sculpture and printmaking. She was the winner of the 2018 Turner Prize and represented Scotland at the 2019 Venice Biennale. She received the 2017 Paul Hamlyn Award and the 2014 Margaret Tait Award.

Ben Rivers (b. 1972) studied sculpture before moving into photography and super8 film. After his degree he taught himself 16mm filmmaking and hand-processing. His practice as a filmmaker treads a line between documentary and fiction. Often following and filming people who have in some way separated themselves from society, the raw film footage provides Rivers with a starting point for creating oblique narratives imagining alternative existences in marginal worlds.

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