Mixed 72 minutes | 6:00pm, Wednesday 22 August at the Monash University Museum of Art
Drawing on science fiction tonalities and aesthetics, Against Entropy explores our prurient interest in entropy as something to be thwarted and as part of human nature. Against Entropy is the first in a series of three film screenings in conjunction with the ‘Robert Smithson: Time Crystals’ exhibition.
Curator: John Edmond
The New Monuments | Conor Bateman | 2018, 6 minutes
Artists like Robert Smithson, Donald Judd and Peter Hutchinson borrowed liberally from science fiction film and literature in their work. This collage treats the marvellous, seemingly indestructible, objects of mid-century science fiction cinema as artworks in their own right.
Courtesy of Conor Bateman
Supported by UQ Art Museum and Monash University Museum of Art
Maxwell’s Demon | Hollis Frampton | 1968, 4 minutes
In 1867, physicist James Clerk Maxwell proposed a way to void the second law of thermodynamics: have a demon control a portal between two chambers, and as faster, hotter molecules approach, have it quickly open and shut the portal so that the slower, cooler molecules remain, ensuring that the temperatures remain segregated, and no entropic equilibrium is produced. Frampton’s Demon, breaks film into its constitute molecules: cool buzzing sounds, hot primary colours, and quick exercising motion to represent this attempt to thwart entropy. Frampton was a contemporary of Robert Smithson’s and an influence on the artist.
Courtesy of the NFSA
Silica | Pia Borg | 2017, 23 minutes
A location scout journeys to an opal-mining town in the South Australian desert in preparation for a film shoot of a science fiction film set on another planet. Here she encounters a settlement on the edge of abandonment, surrounded by signs of the past—both mining and Aboriginal inhabitants—and signs of the future—science fiction props and scenes. In this speculative fiction-essay work, Borg examines notions of preservation and belonging: comparing film and crystal formation, contrasting 35mm and CGI, found and fake opals and locations, to ultimately study how places become alien or familiar.
Courtesy of Pia Borg
From Source to Poem | Rosa Barba | 2016, 12 minutes
In the mid 1960s, in Culpepper, Virginia, the US government undertook a large series of land works to build to build a Federal Reserve Bunker inside Mount Pony. This radiation-hardened facility opened in 1969 and was designed to safeguard the US financial system in case of nuclear war. It stored money, the central node of America’s electronic funds transfer system, and the staff and logistical support required to provide ‘continuity of government’.
In 2007, this bunker was turned into the Library of Congress’s National Audio-Visual Conservation Center. Barba’s epic explores this immense archive where nitrate film, magnetic tape and digital storage fill spaces that were once lined with pallets of money, tinned food and supercomputers—mingling nuclear and archival preservation. Barba audibly blurs sound archives, as if positing how our distinct voices will mingle and find cultural equilibrium.
Courtesy of Rosa Barba
From Source to Poem should ideally be seen on 35mm
Sound of a Million Insects, Light of a Thousand Stars | Tomonari Nishikawa | 2014, 2 minutes
On the 24th of July, 2014, Tomonari Nishikawa buried 100 feet of 35mm colour negative film under fallen leaves alongside a country road. The night was beautiful with a starry sky, and numerous summer insects were singing loudly. There the film remained from sunset to sunrise, absorbing radioactivity from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, about 25km away. The film’s cobalt blue flickers and shimmers, visualising invisible decay.
Courtesy of Tomonari Nishikawa
Urth | Ben Rivers | 2016, 19 minutes
Filmed inside Biosphere 2 in Arizona and drawing on texts commissioned from science fiction writer Mark von Schlegell, Urth explores our visions of the future, constructed ecosystems, and what they preserve, through our encounter with the final log instalments of a woman sealed inside such an unforgiving environment. Evoking what we know of the Biosphere 2 experiments (the vast distance between Earth as a modelled ecosystem and as a scalable actuality, and the divisive politics of human beings) Urth marks out the limits of human kind’s relationship with the natural world.
Courtesy of LUX and Ben Rivers
Fire | Lucy Parker | 2016, 6 minutes
Fire was made for the exhibition The sun went in, the fire went out: landscapes in film, performance and text. This title was itself taken from a notebook of the archaeologist and writer Jacquetta Hawkes, author of A Land (1951), a poetic history of the British Isles examined through its geology. In the wild, two women cycle through various arduous methods of igniting a fire.
Courtesy of LUX and Lucy Parker
Robert Smithson: Time Crystals is a partnership between The University of Queensland Art Museum and Monash University Museum of Art.
This exhibition is made possible through support from the Terra Foundation for American Art.
The exhibition has been developed in cooperation with the Holt-Smithson Foundation.