page break banner by Anna Malina Zemlianski

Red Thread

If it is not just a backdrop or a decor or a lawn painted green by Antonioni, a filmed landscape in a fictional film has a documentary layer: At the time of filming at least, this is what the scenery looked like. These leaves were trembling in the wind, that cloud was floating up there, indifferently, the trees were bearing witness to a confusion of staged & lived realities. It’s been 30 years since I have seen the landscapes of the country of my origin for the last time. My own memories are vague, yet enriched by family photos. Nowadays image archives, films and online maps have made them more contoured and expanded. And so I have developed the urge to immerse myself even deeper into the accumulated visual history of places that might or might not have something to do with me and my ancestry. The point of departure of RED THREAD is a year (1908) and a fluid place (a place already in a state of mystification: the river Volga according to the source material’s narrative, but the actual filmed place being an artificial lake). From there I trace time & landscapes with my hands, trying to sense a red thread, familiar shapes & resonating words. The fictional figures (actual people devoured by time) open themselves to the next scene, two points in time and space linked by contingency through my personal searching. RED THREAD is an unfinished, ongoing work and part of my long-term research into pre-revolution Russian and Soviet cinema. The .gif animations are handmade paper collages; they are made with inkjet printed film stills on which I draw with a red pencil. The words featured in some of the animations are collaged from inter- &/or subtitles of the films.