Short film, colour, sound, 11’37”
For this work, the port city of Odessa on the Black Sea acted as a point of enquiry. I spent a period of time researching the rich synthesis of historical events and narratives that surround the sea and the city.
This film brings together 3 narrative spaces: The limestone mining network below the city of Odessa, which emerged in the late 19th century when the city rapidly grew into a Cosmopolitan city; the anoxic water of the Black Sea, where archeological artefacts are pristinely preserved because of the lack of oxygen; and the virtual space inside a spiral shell where a man and a woman are having a conversation.
The resulting work acts as an exploration of the transitional state between personal drives and appropriated behavioural patterns, creating a friction between time and events, both real and supposed. The work was created as part of the Chadwell Studio Award 2012-13, a year-long studio residency with Acme Studios, London.
The screening was accompanied by a text, written during my stay in Odessa.
A 5 min excerpt of the film:
A narration or a song.
When Law was one man in the village and imagination was not yet a word.
The authority of a rock, the tyranny of the body.
A certain density of material or an intensity of movement becomes a quality to be distinguished, an action to be judged.
Each moment encapsulated by an intimate eeriness, which evaporates as soon as it receives its name.
The authority of the body of the Tyrant.
If she is a city, people will inhabit her.
Just like the absent presence of their touch, the site of this pain is ambiguous: her hands and lips are not the first to absorb the shock, it is the role of her eyes, her mind, a wanted version of herself.
Through various openings she is inundated by neural suggestions, travelling along meridians, establishing a cellular mirror-image within her body.
Communicating surfaces, almost touching.
This mass of intimacy is no longer hers.
Divide and rule, the democratic tyranny of the online body.
If she is the body of land surrounding the Black Sea, where is her heart?
She needs more mass to fill the space. Her skin and flesh are separated in an uneven stretch.
She is the dark water. Her anoxic womb gives birth to pristine objects.
Frozen human gestures.
Time so dense that it sinks to the bottom of the sea.
Maaike Anne Stevens is a visual artist based in Amsterdam and London. She works with text, image, installation and film. Her work has been shown at exhibitions and screenings worldwide, including at the Jerwood Space London (UK), the Austrian Filmmuseum (Vienna), Visions du Réel, Nyon (CH), IFFR Rotterdam (NL), The Art Gallery of Alberta (CA), and the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Santiago (CL). Her work is part of the Victoria & Albert Museum permanent collection. Maaike is a graduate of Central St.Martins College of Art and Design (BA Fine Arts, 2008) and Goldsmiths College (MFA Fine Arts, 2012).
Bipolaris is a 30-minute essay about the fundamental difference in the way our two brain hemispheres experience the world. Through fictional scenes, interviews, documentary footage and a soundscape, these two parallel worlds are depicted and intertwined. The film is a poetic portrait of the deep-rooted paradox that seems to reside within us, placing a question mark at the heart of modern Enlightenment thinking: the idea that we can predict or replace human experience with our logical thinking.
At the edge of the Moroccan Sahara a man contemplates his nomadic past and the turn his life has taken, whilst scientists in a German lab analyse deep-sea mud cores to unravel the Earth’s history. Scylos is a short film made in collaboration with Peter Mann. It premiered at Visions du Réel, Nyon (CH) and IFFR Rotterdam in 2021.
This contemplative film is composed from sequences shot in a small desert village on the edge of the Sahara in southeastern Morocco and at the IODP Bremen Core Repository, where thousands of deep-sea mud cores from all over the world are stored, sampled and analysed by scientists, who try to explain cycles of extinction and bloom in the history of the planet.
Silver cast made out of a 3D scan of a cyst in my left breast. This is a work in progress.
In January 2019 I participated in a 10-day research programme in Tiznit, Morocco, organised by Slow Research Lab. The programme was a collaboration between international artists and the local community. Tiznit is located on the Targua oasis, 90 kilometres south of Agadir. Today, much of the oasis is in a state of neglect. This programme was set up to create more awareness among the local population of the importance of the place and to give the oasis a new lease of life.
Text written as part of a creative workshop with Perdu, Amsterdam about my time working as an image editor for a multimedia tour guide company. Image drawn with graphite and pencil.
Curator Sasha Burkhanova-Khabadze: ‘The thought experiment in the exhibition Bodies of Water is not only to undo the idea that bodies have to be human; rather, it is to help our imagination to grasp that the human is always inevitably more-than-human…The three art projects, coincided in the exhibition, enable alternative ways of thinking about the ‘waterly ethics’, mutual responsibility, and developed practices of care — specific to the human-water relationships, explored by each artist.’
This work is based on the trilobite Calymene Siveter, which was found in 1996 in Herefordshire (UK). Trilobites constitute a class of extinct arthropods most of which lived in the sea. The installation was specially designed for Galería Tajamar, in downtown Santiago (Chile). The gallery space is in an old kiosk, which stands in a square between 4 towerblocks. These towers, the plaza and the surrounding shops were built in the distinctive concrete modernist architecture of the ‘60. For the space, a 3D scan of the trilobite was blown up to life-size proportions.
In The Minds of Others (Anonymous) is an ongoing collaboration with Chilean artist Maite Zabala in which we meet each other for short working periods in different parts of the world. Past residencies and exhibitions have included: The Banff Centre (CA), The Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton (CA), Arquetopia, Puebla (MX), and The Museum of Contemporary Art in Santiago (CL).
This public artwork is an integral part of the facade of a new construction project in the centre of London. An irregular pattern of lightboxes, made out of limestone, introduces a playful element in the classical, vertical order of the facade.
Esa Architects and Westminster City Council had expressed their wish for an artwork to be developed for the facade of 26-32 Oxford Street and for the art to be an integral part of the building fabric.
This work was developed during a work period in the desert village Tisserdmine, in the Tafilalet Region in Southeast Morocco. The sketches and sculptural forms arose from my experience in this environment, a landscape that hardly gives any sign of recognition to the human eye.
10 ceramic tablets made during a residency at the Banff Centre, Canada. They were based on the shapes of grave stones I had seen in a Norwegian village.
Almost Touching is a sculptural installation made on location at the Acme Project Space in London. It was selected by students from the Royal College of Art MA Curating programme to be part of the duo show Delve, together with artist Sarah Duffy.
On 12 December 1999 oil tanker Erika broke in two in a heavy storm off the coast of Brittany, and sank. One of the last images before she disappeared became the starting point for a series of material explorations.
200 days, 1065 readers, 912 eliminated phrases. One sentence remained.
This short film is the documentation of the systematic deconstruction of a 20-volume history encyclopaedia. The work shows various steps in the course of this process, while sounds in the background form a new story.