On the occasion of Power to Change, a programme of art and events that considers the artistic, museum and cultural sectors’, emotional and practical responses to climate and ecological emergency, Tate film highlights the practice of Lithuanian artist, Emilija Škarnulytė.
While a new video-installation by Škarnulytė, Eternal Return, is presented in the South Tank, two previous works by the artist and New Mineral Collective are screened throughout the weekend in the Starr auditorium.
- New Mineral Collective, Pleasure Prospects, 2019, HD video, sound, approx. 16 minutes, with subtitles
- Emilija Škarnulytė, Sirenomelia, 2017, HD video, sound, approx. 11 minutes, with subtitles
New Mineral Collective is an artist duo formed in 2012 by Tanya Busse and Emilija Škarnulytė. Their work questions geography, landscape, ecology, and human relations with nature. The collective defines their activities as 'counter-prospecting', in opposition to the practice of excavating mineral deposits to mine raw materials.
Pleasure Prospects reflects on the nature of prospecting in a speculative way. Following the artists as they acquire prospecting licenses, the video explores both topographical landscapes and earthly interiors, including Toronto's annual mineral-mining convention. Their headquarters, a sci-fi geodesic dome, is the site where various “geo-trauma healing therapies” are performed, in hopes of finding counter prospects and alternative forces.
Commissioned by the Toronto Biennial of Art with generous support from the Office of Contemporary Art Norway.
Alongside her collaborative practice, Emilija Škarnulytė has developed her own adjacent research for the past ten years, incorporating film and video as an enquiry of the shifting boundaries between ecological and cosmic forces.
Sirenomelia was shot in two locations above the Arctic Circle, which the artist measures with her own body: an abandoned Cold-war submarine base in Olavsvern, Norway, 217 miles north of the Arctic Circle, and the Geodetic Observatory at Ny-Ålesund, Spitsbergen, the most northern permanently inhabited settlement in the world. The work invites us on an audio-visual journey, following the mythical creature of the mermaid which the artist performs by swimming through the decrepit facility, and alludes to the entirety of space beyond human impact.