What happens when something slippery, living and intangible is pressed, dried and flattened? Each Saturday, the Still I Rise screening programme shares a work of video art or film that profiles themes of feminisms, gender, and resistance through the moving image.
Presented by Arnolfini as part of the Still I Rise expanded programme.
Unctuous Between Fingers takes as its starting point, an archive of pressed seaweeds and algae held by the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, collected predominantly by women in the 1800’s. A gendered hobby, ‘seaweeding’ was considered a creative pastime of little importance. However, many of the collectors made a significant contribution to marine botany, meticulously recording specimens and sharing their findings generously with the (male) scientific community.
Through a process of archival research and workshops with enthusiasts, artists, scientists and philosophers, Unctuous Between Fingers explores the seaweed collection’s relationship to contemporary ideas and conversations. Considering our interconnectedness with our more-than-human world, the work poses the question, what we can learn from seaweed?
What happens when something slippery, living and intangible is pressed, dried and flattened? What do we lose or gain in the process of preserving these specimens and how does this transformation from slippery and elusive, to brittle and hard relate to ideas around care and collecting, active and historicised feminisms?
Screening in Arnolfini’s Dark Studio, Level 2.
Bryony Gillard is an artist, curator and educator with an MFA from the Dutch Art Institute, School for Art Praxis. Her work was included in the Tate touring exhibition, Virginia Woolf: an exhibition inspired by her writings at Tate St.Ives, The Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge) and Pallant House (Chichester) and recent projects include Slippery Bodies, Flatland Projects (Hastings), A Place That Fosters Us, De Pimlico Projects (London) and a new commission with RAMM (Exeter).Her work has been included in a range of national and international contexts including Documnt (New York/Berlin), Casa de Pova (São Paulo), Upominki (Rotterdam).
Commissioned by the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter