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Ben Rivers: Slow Action 26 January–20 March 2011 | Editions | Commissioned by Picture This and Animate Projects in association with Matt’s Gallery, London.



Ben Rivers | Slow Action, 2010  

Ben Rivers Slow Action, 2010 (film still)


Ben Rivers Slow Action, 2010 (film still)


Ben Rivers Slow Action, 2010 (film still)
 

Press Information
Slow Action, Ben Rivers’ first exhibition at Matt’s Gallery, is a post-apocalyptic science fiction film that brings together a series of four 16mm works which exist somewhere between documentary, ethnographic study and fiction.

Continuing his exploration of curious and extraordinary environments, Slow Action applies the idea of island biogeography - the study of how species and eco-systems evolve differently when isolated and surrounded by unsuitable habitat - to a conception of the Earth in a few hundred years; the sea level rising to absurd heights, creating hyperbolic utopias that appear as possible future mini-societies.

Slow Action is filmed at different sites across the globe: Lanzarote - a beautiful strange island known for its beach resorts yet one of the driest places on the planet, full of dead volcanoes and strange architecture; Gunkanjima - an island off the coast of Nagasaki, Japan, a deserted city built on a rock, once home to thousands of families mining its rich coal reserves; Tuvalu - one of the smallest countries in the world, with tiny strips of land barely above sea level in the middle of the Pacific; and Somerset - an as yet to be discovered island and its various clades.

This series of constructed realities explores the environments of self-contained lands and the search for information to enable the reconstruction of soon to be lost worlds.

The film’s soundtrack - narratives by writer Mark von Schlegell - detail each of the four islands’ evolutions according to their geographical, geological, climatic and botanical conditions.

Slow Action, inspired by novels such as Samuel Butler’s Erewhon, Bacon’s The New Atlantis, Herbert Read’s The Green Child and Mary Shelley’s The Last Man, embodies the spirit of exploration, experiment and active research that has come to characterise Rivers’ practice.


Slow Action on exhibition at Picture This, Bristol
20 November–18 December 2010.

Ben Rivers is represented by Kate MacGarry, London

Generously supported by:



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Biography
Born Somerset, 1972 Education 1990-1993 Falmouth School of Art Solo Exhibitions 2010 On Overgrown Paths, Impressions Gallery, Bradford; Origin of the Species, Kate MacGarry, London 2009 A World Rattled of Habit, A Foundation, Liverpool; Origin of the Species, Picture This, Bristol 2008 On Overgrown Paths, Permanent Gallery/Regency Town House, Brighton 2006 House, St Simon & St Jude Gallery, Norwich Selected Solo Screenings 2008-10 Ben Rivers, IndieLisboa; The Coming Race in Subjective Projections, Bielefelder Kunstverein, Bielefeld; The House and The Woods, Punto de Vista, Pamplona; Ben Rivers at the Edge of the World - London Film Festival; Artist-in-focus, Courtisane, Vooruit, Ghent; Tribute, VIS, Vienna; A World Rattled of Habit, LA Film Forum; This Is My Land, Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts, San Francisco; The Poetic Horror of Ben Rivers, Other Cinema, San Francisco; On the Nature of Affinities, Union Theatre, Milwaukee; A World Rattled of Habit, Conversations at the Edge, Gene Siskel Centre, Chicago; Omaggio a Ben Rivers, Pesaro International Film festival, Italy; Ben Rivers Films, Inverness Film Festival Selected Group Exhibitions, Screenings and Projects 2009 Practical Truths, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester; Serpentine Screening Series (with Javier Tellez), Gate Cinema, London; Out Of This World, St Paul St Gallery, Auckland; An Entangled Bank, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh; Artprojx/FLAMIN Matinee, Prince Charles Cinema, London; For Robert Frank, National Gallery of Art, Washington; Figuring Landscape, ArtSway, New Forest; Tate Modern, London then touring to: Dundee Contemporary Arts; FACT, Liverpool; Vivid, Birmingham; Showroom, Sheffield; Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff; Site Festival, Stroud Valley Artspace; Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Sydney; Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; Media-Space, Stuttgart 2008 SYNDICATE, Rokeby, London; Wild Shapes, Cell Projects, London; Claremorris Open, Claremorris, Ireland; If - People and Places in recent film and video, Bloomberg Space, London; Art With Strangers, Turnpike Gallery, Leigh; We Can Not Exist In This World Alone (with Ben Russell), Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth; SOFA Gallery, Christchurch; Chalk Horse Gallery, Sydney; OtherFilm, Brisbane; Tank TV presents, Artprojx, London; Soundtracks, Nought To Sixty, ICA, London 2007 Kyoto Media Art Week, Kyoto Art Centre, Japan; Biennial of Moving Images, Geneva; Mayflies, Site Gallery, Sheffield, and Cornerhouse, Manchester; Tank TV - Fresh Moves: New Moving Images from the UK (DVD); European Media Art Festival, Osnabruck; Prizewinners Show (with Tomas Chaffe), Surface Gallery, Nottingham 2006 A Ses Parents, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland; A Certain Tendency in Representation, Cineclub, Thomas Dane Gallery, London; Open Show, Surface Gallery, Nottingham; New Work UK, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London 2005 Without Boundaries - European Artists' Film and Video, Watershed, Bristol; Ways of Worldmaking (with Jeremy Butler), Permanent Gallery, Brighton Selected Commissions 2009 Slow Action, Picture This; I Know Where I’m Going, Vauxhall Collective Commission 2007 Ah, Liberty! and Origin of the Species, London Artists’ Film and Video Award 2006 Sørdal, Arts Council England, South East; The Coming Race, Surface Gallery Commission 2005 House, Arts Council England, South East Selected Awards 2010 Shortlisted for the Film London Jarman Award 2008 Tiger Award Best Short Film – International Film Festival Rotterdam; Best Experimental Film - Curtas Vila do Conde Film Festival; Best ExiS Award, ExiS, Seoul; The Badass Spirit of Blackhawk Award, ICE, Iowa; Jury Main Prize - $100 Film Festival, Calgary 2007 Jury Prize - Hamburg Short Film Festival 2006 Main Prize - Surface Gallery Open

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Bibliography
Selected Reviews 2010 Listen to Britain: On the Outskirts with Ben Rivers, Michael Sicinski, Cinema Scope, Issue 43; Enduring portrait of the wilderness years, Laura McLean-Ferris, The Independent (Viewspaper), 23 April;
Ben Rivers
, Steven Cairns, Artforum.com, 8 April; Slow Action, Ben Rivers, Map Magazine, Spring; Ben Rivers Interview, Daniel Bennet, littlewhitelies.co.uk, April; In The Studio - Ben Rivers, Helen Sumpter, Time Out London, 25-31 March; Ben Rivers, Skye Sherwin, The Guardian Guide, 20-26 March; Ben Rivers, Jonathan Griffin, Frieze, January-February; Ben Rivers, David Trigg, Art Monthly, February 2010

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