Critical Writing Index

Reading the Morphology of Ben Rivers's chemical landscapes

by Patrick Tarrant

Moving Image Review & Art Journal (MIRAJ), 2016, v. 5, no. 1 & 2, pp. 58-68

This article examines the discursive and aesthetic functions of the abstract material artefacts that emerge from Ben Rivers’s hand processing of his 16mm films, focusing on

the various ways these abstract forms interact with photographic images to produce a compound and plastic textuality. Drawing upon Jean-François Lyotard’s theorization of the figural, which seeks to explain the relationship between a text and its own material image, it examines the oscillation between two registers of filmic discourse in Two Years At Sea (2011) and its short predecessor, This Is My Land (2006). In these films, images of people and landscape merge with textures and shapes that arise from hand processing to create newly thickened worlds upon a chemical landscape.

ITEM 2016.016 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited

This is My LandBen Rivers

Two Years at SeaBen Rivers

I Know Where I'm GoingBen Rivers

Slow ActionBen Rivers

Jean-Francois Lyotard