In Spring 2013 Ben Russell took up a month-long residency in Malta.
During this time he hosted a two-day workshop, organised around the seemingly opposite poles of psychedelia and ethnography, two approaches which have the same goal at heart: the understanding of our/selves in the world.
Taking its cues from current trends in contemporary art that feature a nostalgic turn towards modernist notions of the sublime and the phenomenological on the one hand and a willful reinvention of non-fiction on the other, this workshop proposed a critical study of past and present in order to forge a new way forward.
Drawing from the flicker films of Paul Sharits to the trance anthropologies of Jean Rouch; from the embodied abstractions of Jordan Belson to the documentary provocations of Renzo Martens, the end result was a syncretic understanding of how these touchstones can be integrated into filmmaking practice.
The worship also featured a guest appeareance by Palestinian artist Basma AlSharif.
With Kinemastik Ben co-produced and directed a short film entitled Atlantis.
You can watch the trailer here: http://www.vdb.org/titles/atlantis
Between Plato's Atlantis and a version depicted in a 1970s American science-fiction TV series, Ben Russell composes a documentary portrait of the lost island, found in the singular Malta. Happiness was already a key dimension of his previous work. Here, perhaps is trance – one of his prime research areas – produced by the magnetic beauty of the film?
The residency was supported by the Malta Arts Fund.