Short film

Updated 1 year ago

Scylos is a meditation on the nature of classical logic, in which contradictory states cannot co-exist. The film is inspired by the life story of a character described in Herodotus’ Histories: the Scythian King Scylos, whose existence was split between his tribe of nomadic warriors and his civilised home in a Greek settler town. This double existence eventually led to his dramatic downfall.

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. In a mud core the whole of humanity is reduced to a speck of dust, and yet within each particle the cycle of birth, life and death is present.

  • Materials/duration

    HD video, colour, 22’36”, 5.1 sound

  • With

    Youssef Bouchedor and Alex Wülbers

  • Voices

    Rixt Leddy and David Llewellyn Child

  • Collaboration with

    DOP, co-producer, co-editor: Peter Mann
    sound design: Lennart Kleinen, KlevR
    music: Anna-Maria Hefele
    Second Unit Director of Photography: Hatti Beanland
    Colour Correction & VFX: Ramon Coelho, Video Projects/Loods, Lux & Lumen
    Finishing: Jan Jaap Kuiper, Amator

  • Locations

    Tisserdmine (Morocco) and the MARUM Center for Marine Environmental Sciences in Bremen (Germany)

  • Supported by

    Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst and the Netherlands Film Fund

  • Screenings

    Visions du Réel, Nyon (CH) 2021 (World premiere)
    IFFR Rotterdam (NL) 2021 (Dutch premiere)
    Into The Great Wide Open 2021, Vlieland (NL)
    Viennale 2021, Vienna (AT)
    NewFilmmakers NY 2023 (US)

This short introduction film explains the idea and motivation behind the making of Scylos:

About & CV

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).



Essay film (development phase)

Updated 1 year ago

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.


Strange Body

Silver cast

Updated 2 years ago

Silver cast made out of a 3D scan of a cyst in my left breast. This is a work in progress.



10-day research programme with Slow Research Lab

Updated 2 years ago

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.

Stop 18

Drawing and text

Updated 2 years ago

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.


Bodies of Water

Trio exhibition at Exposed Arts Projects, London

Updated 2 years ago

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.’

Calymene Siveter (1996)

Temporary installation at Galería Tajamar, Santiago (CL)

Updated 2 years ago

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)

Ongoing collaboration

Updated 2 years ago

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).



Commissioned artwork, 26-32 Oxford Street, London (UK)

Updated 2 years ago

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.


Kif Kif

Sculptural installation in the desert near Tisserdmine (MA)

Updated 2 years ago

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 grave stones from memory

Updated 2 years ago

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

Temporary installation at the Acme Project Space, London

Updated 2 years ago

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.

Sketch book: The Diagram

Black Sea

Short film

Updated 2 years ago

This film brings together 3 narrative spaces: The mining network below the city of Odessa, The anoxic water of the Black Sea, and the (virtual) space inside a spiral shell.


A series of work based on a poor image

Updated 2 years ago

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.


Saving Everything I

A collective reading of Don Quixote de la Mancha

Updated 2 years ago

200 days, 1065 readers, 912 eliminated phrases. One sentence remained.

Saving Everything II

Short film

Updated 2 years ago

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.

About my work

I work with text, image, installation and film. A new work often starts with something small (linguistic) that grabs my attention: a sentence from a book, an image from the internet, a medical term. These words and images become part of a schematic approach in which encounters are organised between conflicting elements. This may be in the form of clashing materials, contradicting concepts, or by going through a process that gradually starts to undermine its origins. Through this process I want to focus attention on how language, established patterns of behaviour and social choreographies obscure a chaotic world of emotions and feelings, which at the same time define much of our lives. I am interested in the space and freedom generated by these collisions, which arise when there is a certain repetition, or shift in scale, or when the intimate is brought into contact with the public. They constitute a search for an alternative to the rational, dualistic world of Enlightenment thinking that colours so much of our Western world.

If you would like to know more about one of my pieces, or about my work in general, please don’t hesitate and get in touch.