Compiling visceral found imagery and radical sonics with extensive investigative research, Graeme Arnfield's films are sensory essays that plunge through layers of ecology, geology, history and technology.
Graeme Arnfield (b. 1991, UK) is an artist filmmaker and composer living in London, raised in Cheshire, UK. Producing sensory essay films from networked found imagery his films use methods of investigative storytelling to explore issues of technology, ecology and history. Research topics have included: the politics of digital networks including YouTube algorithms and computer viruses, the distribution of ecological matter such as peat and asbestos and the adaptive circulation of global and local histories.
His work has been presented worldwide including Berlinale Forum Expanded, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Courtisane Festival, Open City Documentary Festival, Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, Sonic Acts Festival, European Media Arts Festival, Transmediale, IMPAKT Festival, Kasseler Dokfest, Plastik Festival, Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur, LUX, Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), Berlinische Gallerie, Signal Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery and on e-flux & Vdrome. He graduated with a Masters in Experimental Cinema at Kingston University.
Sitting in Darkness
HD Video / 15:29 min / 2015
Out of the darkness a sound emerges. It echoes and drones. Terrified people take to the streets in search of its source. They get their cameras out and document the sky, searching for an author. We watch on, sitting in darkness, our muscles contract and our pupils dilate. “I hope the camera picks this up”. “Sitting in Darkness” is a sensory essay film that explores the circulation, spectatorship and undeclared politics of contemporary networked images.
HD Video / 11:12 min / 2016
"Somewhere nearby is Colossal Cave. Magic is said to work in the cave. I will be your eyes and hands." Excavated from the world’s largest cave system “Colossal Cave” is a love letter from the prehistory of the Internet. Retracing the production of a pioneering video game the film finds in its debris the blueprints of our contemporary digital network and the emotional remapping of the world. Compiled from amateur caving videos found online, these sources are relocated inside a history of geological representation, adaptation and redistribution.
Shouting at the Ground
HD Video / 17:28 min / 2017
In a peat bog in North West England a Spanish woman was murdered, her body buried and subsumed into the treacherously dense ecological matter. A matter which labours have extracted for centuries, selling this fertile material as fuel worldwide; a material which upon burning releases timeless carbon deposits into our increasingly precarious and damaged ecosphere. After laying dormant under the rich dark peat for an unknown amount of time a body returned to the surface but its identity had become dislocated; it has become entwined with the history of its material host.
Taking the real life disappearance of Malika Maria De Fernandez along with the global trade of fossil fuels as an poignant opening, “Shouting at the Ground” is an agricultural & archaeological murder mystery circling around a void, oscillating it’s images and sounds between states of violent networked embodiment and pitch black absence, of burial and exhumation.
HD Video / 21:30 min / 2018
The final resting place of the Romanov family - the last Russian royal family who were executed in the 1917 revolutions, has always been contentious. Historians and the church have endlessly argued over the bodies found in Yekaterinburg. But in 2015 the issue was settled when the church agreed to bury the verified remains of the family together at last. But this is not the whole story. One member of the family did evade the Bolsheviks, living many years after the revolution. That being Joy, the Romanov’s prized dog.
After being found wandering the forests by a British radio engineer Joy was taken back to Windsor, England to live out her life in the shadow of the British monarchy. Many years later Joy was buried in the garden of her new owners home, a home that was redeveloped as a factory producing ophthalmic equipment for eye testing. Now this dislocated history howls under the surface threatening an ecological revolution to come.
Pedigree is an animal invasion movie about the stories we tell about dogs and revolutions. Filmed at the factory where Joy was buried by both humans and dogs the film utilises a mongrel mixture of found, produced and processed materials to affectively trace the decentralised & domesticated legacy of the Russian revolution. Part true shaggy dog story, part feral historiography the film plunges through the dark recesses of the earth, along the way exhuming local traumas and messy 20th century desires in order to contemplate our contemporary liberatory imagination.
The Phantom Menace
miniDV / 36:32 min / 2019
Welcome to the age of cosmic radiation! In 2021 the Sun fell to its lowest point of activity since the birth of science. Its magnetic waves that once shield the Earth dramatically weakened. During this solar lull powerful intergalactic cosmic rays penetrated our atmosphere. Originating eons ago from the explosive remnants of dead stars these silent, invisible and highly charged particles were only noticed in their affect - in what they did to our bodies and to the technologies we thought we could rely upon.
Compiling stories from the recent past of interaction with cosmic radiation at ever descending altitudes, “The Phantom Menace” is a techno driven stroboscopic climate fiction film written in conversation with various Amazon warehouse workers. Initially inspired by the proposed plans for the U.S government to install their fragile predictive supercomputers deep underground in order to protect them from these upcoming ancient alien invaders, the film uses once costly low-resolution scientific visualisations produced on these supercomputers to speculate on the role of image labour in the subterranean near future. Planes crashing, computers malfunctioning and elections going haywire - these were just the prequel to the future.
HD Video / 30:37 min / 2021
Equal parts systems literacy and kaleidoscopic ecological fantasia, “Pervading Animal” is a film about butterflies, computer viruses and all the things they touch. Tracing the creation, spread and destructive legacy of the first ransomware computer virus the film finds in its wake surprising connections between the US invasion of Panama, the aesthetics of pioneering computational art and the construction of a butterfly conservatory in New York.