November 18 - 22, 2019
A laboratory about representing the city, infrastructures, and the planet itself as planetary-scale sensory networks
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‘Geocinema’ considers planetary-scale sensory networks— roving satellites, surveillance cameras, geosensing arrays, billions of cell phones — as a vastly distributed camera. Sensing fragments of the earth, each signal and transfer runs through their own sets of scales and tempos while producing terabytes of raw data. Here, the representation of the earth is the sum of a decentralized editing process with its image anything but whole.

Filmmaking, in this ‘geocinematic’ sense, is happening constantly and all around us: whether it’s the traffic CCTV cameras triggered by unusual behaviours of cars, or satellites scanning the earth’s surface every 16 days. These more-than-human cinematic mediations are being directed by meshes of planetary-scale sensory networks. Hierarchies and priorities imposed onto such techniques of sensing and imaging are informing differences that matter in very real ways, co-creating the strange new natures that we are embedded within. 

Inspired by the notion of ‘Geocinema’, this workshop asks participants to read the signals of storms. Whether economic, political or social turbulence, here we want to create space to collectively think through notions of time and movements which are being written by and into our surrounding environments.

Together with the participants, we will talk through the method of ‘matrix storyboarding’— a way to map out a site based on rulesets for experiences— which will be used as a starting point towards further narrative experiments. Departing from the introduction of ‘Geocinema’ as methodology, the workshop will be structured through research and creative assignments, fieldwork, daily discussions and screenings where we turn to feedback loops between science and technology and their relationship to film and broader filmmaking practices.

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Faculty

If we want to understand the extreme conditions that the Earth is enduring today under the pressure of global systems of extraction, we will need new lenses, a form of storytelling that can operate on the scale of planetary networks and infrastructures. In their short films, Geocinema are using the instruments of global capitalism, from cell phones to surveillance cameras, satellites and geosensor, as a distributed filmmaking machine. The characters in their stories are vastly distributed megastructures like China’s Belt and Road Initiative, spanning three continents, or the different satellite systems orbiting over our heads. 

Based in Berlin and Kiev, Geocinema are art historian Asia Bazdyrieva and filmmaker Solveig Suess.Their practice explores the collision between ecological change and infrastructures of migration, work and trade. The project originated as part of their participation in the Strelka Institute program in Moscow in 2018.

Co-produced by the Estudios Críticos program of Matadero Madrid