Ballroom nominated Serpent Rain by Denise Ferreira da Silva and Arjuna Neuman for the 2017 season of Artists’ Film International (AFI).
Serpent Rain screened at Marfa’s Crowley Theater along with 12 videos from around the world. The international program was looped into a day of drop-in screenings. This was followed by the feature presentation of Serpent Rain, with a conversation with Ferreira da Silva and Neuman.
The AFI 2017 weekend continued with The Water Body, a symposium organized by Ferreira da Silva and Neuman as an expansion of Serpent Rain and a connector to their next project, Deep Implicancy. The Water Body brought together different perspectives, disciplines, and backgrounds to engage in a conversation about water, locally and globally. Participants included Timothy Morton, author of Hyperobjects and co-curator of the Spring 2018 Ballroom exhibition of the same name; Rafa Esparza, the artist behind Ballroom’s Tierra. Sangre. Oro. exhibition; Yolanda Blue Horse, co-founder of the Society of Native Nations; ecological systems designer, consultant, teacher, and permacultural grower Nance Klehm; and Coyne Gibson of the Big Bend Conservation Alliance. The symposium took place in Marfa at The Lumberyard’s Adobe Room.
Serpent Rain, a collaboration between Denise Ferreira da Silva and Arjuna Neuman inspired a weekend of critical inquiry and public discussion of racial and environmental justice, water, and human migration. Serpent Rain is as much an experiment in working together as it is a film about the future. The collaboration began with the discovery of a sunken slave ship, and an artist asking a philosopher – how do we get to the post-human without technology? And the philosopher replying – maybe we can make a film without time. The result is a video that speaks from inside the cut between slavery and resource extraction, between black lives matter and the matter of life, between the state changes of elements, timelessness and tarot.
Serpent Rain was commissioned by Stefano Harney (freethought) for The Bergen Assembly.
About Artists' Film International
Organized in conjunction with Whitechapel Gallery, London, AFI is a program that showcases international artists working in film, video and animation.
Each international venue that participates in AFI nominates a moving image work from an artist who lives and works in their country. The 2017 AFI institutions are:
Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden
Cultural Centre of Belgrade, Serbia
The Contemporary Art Centre (CAC), Vilnius, Lithuania
Centre for Contemporary Arts Afghanistan (CCAA), Kabul, Afghanistan
DocLab, Hanoi, Vietnam
Fundación PROA, Buenos Aires, Argentina
GAMeC (Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea) Bergamo, Italy
Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA
Istanbul Modern, Turkey
Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia (MAAT), Lisbon, Portugal
Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Poland
National Centre for Contemporary Arts, Moscow, Russia
Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin, Germany
Para/Site, Hong Kong
Project 88, Mumbai, India
Tromsø Kunstforening, Norway
Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK
The Whitworth, Manchester, UK
Denise Ferreira da Silva
Denise Ferreira da Silva’s academic writings and artistic practice address the ethical questions of the global present and target the metaphysical and ontoepistemological dimensions of modern thought. Currently, she is an Associate Professor and Director of The Social Justice Institute (GRSJ) at the University of British Columbia. She is he author of Toward a Global Idea of Race(University of Minnesota Press, 2007).
Her recent academic publications include the edited volume Race, Empire, and The Crisis of the Subprime (with Paula Chakravartty, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), and the articles “Toward a Black Feminist Poethics: The Quest(ion) of Blackness Towards the End of the World” (The Black Scholar, 2014), “The Racial Limits of Social Justice: The Ruse of Equality of Opportunity and the Global Affirmative Action Mandate” (Critical Ethnic Studies, 2016). Her art-related work include texts for publications linked to the 2016 Liverpool and Sao Paulo Biennales, advising Natasha Ginwala, the curator for the Contour 8 Biennale (Mechelen, 2017), as well as events (performances, talks, and private sessions), the play Return of the Vanished Peasant (in collaboration with Rosalind Martin, commissioned by “What’s Up Doc?,” a program of the Menagerie Theatre Company), and texts that are part of her own practice, Poethical Readings (in collaboration with Valentina Desideri).
Arjuna Neuman was born on an airplane, that’s why he has two passports. He is an artist, filmmaker and writer. With recent presentations at Sharja Biennial, UAE; Contour 8, Belgium; Bergen Assembly, Norway; at NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore; the 56th Venice Biennale and SuperCommunity; Industry of Light, London; the Haus Der Kulturen der Welt; at Ashkal Alwan and the Beirut Art Centre, Lebanon; Le Gaite Lyric, Paris; the Canadian Centre for Architecture; and the Rat School of Art, Seoul amongst others. As a writer he has published essays in Relief Press, Into the Pines Press, The Journal for New Writing, VIA Magazine, Concord, Art Voices, Flaunt, LEAP and e-flux.