Dir: Ben Rivers | Doc, UK, 45′
Even rocks are just passing through, like us they have their finite time on Earth. According to one eminent scientist ‘Ghost Strata’ are the missing elements from within rock faces that, despite their absence, offer hints of what was once there.
Standing in a former railway tunnel in central Nottingham, Geologist Professor Jan Zalasiewicz (University of Leicester) discusses notion with British filmmaker Ben Rivers, for his latest experimental documentary Ghost Strata. The tunnel, carved out of the city’s sandstone cliffs, allows us glimpses of the geological and anthropological traces left over millennia of sedimentation and revealed by human intervention. Prof. Zalasiewicz muses on the remnants of human existence that may or may not remain in geological records a 100 million years hence.
Ben Rivers then takes this idea and runs with it to explore the differing scales of impact that humanity’s presence has had on the earth since the beginning of time, and into the future. Rivers blends his own footage with sound and text elements to create an evocative meditation on time, memory and extinction.
Echoing his seasonal work Things (2014) and harking back to elements of his 2009 piece I Know Where I’m Going when he first collaborated with Prof. Zalasiewicz, this often dreamlike fantasy piece is divided into twelve chapters reflecting the months of the year in which the footage was filmed. Peripatetic in nature, Ghost Strata reflects Rivers’ travels to various locations including São Paulo, Krabi in Thailand and Nottingham in the UK. Ghost Strata is an insightful yet ephemeral reflection on time, memory, and extinction. MT
WORLD PREMIERING at FID MARSEILLE on 12 July 2019 Ghost Strata is the seventh in an ongoing series of 10-day shows at Matt’s Gallery, London