Ballroom Marfa Art Fund
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Artists’ Film International 2021 — Patty Chang

Sundown April 9 - 25, 2021


Invocation for a Wandering Lake: Parts 1 & 2

Please note: visitors are invited for outdoor screenings of Chang’s film (12 min, looped), projected onto Ballroom’s exterior at sundown (8:30pm – 10pm), Wednesday through Sunday, April 9–25. Masks and social distancing are required. 

Ballroom Marfa selected Patty Chang’s Invocation for a Wandering Lake: Parts 1 & 2 (2016) for the 2021 season of Artists’ Film International (AFI). The work calls for contemplation of human and non-human lives, the natural environment, and destructive geopolitical forces, as we witness the artist in ritual acts of care and mourning.

The lifeless body of a whale floats off the coast of Newfoundland’s Fogo Islands, a former fishing hub. The artist Patty Chang is seen meditatively washing the deceased animal. With similar attention, she scrubs the shell of an abandoned ship in the desert of Muynak, Uzbekistan, a defunct seaport on the receded Aral Sea. These repetitive acts seem almost absurd and unnecessary, as these entities could never return to life. Nevertheless, she continues to perform rituals of care, perhaps as a way to process their fateful ends.

Over the last year, we collectively experienced extreme loss due to the ongoing pandemic. If we are to create new ways of living, perhaps we first need to practice ways of mourning, mending, and contemplating through rituals of care, as the film suggests.

Organized in conjunction with Whitechapel Gallery in London, Artists’ Film International (AFI) is a program that showcases international artists working in film, video and animation. Every year all participating institutions nominate a moving-image work from an artist living and working in their country. This year, all film nominations are tied together around the theme of care.