RESONANCE

in collaboration with Jonathan Henderson and Merrill Shatzman

Inspired by the aridest landscapes in southern Utah, those of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and the many contrasts these landscapes present,  this experimental film, looks at the sacred qualities and fragility of our environment. It depicts geologic space with a focus on how wind, water and human activity carve, hone and alter its surface. 

The first impression of Escalante is one of silence, space, and timeless beauty. But while the land is resilient to harsh environmental conditions, it is also easily perturbed by subtle shifts in the wind direction, sculpted by water, or marked by footsteps that can destroy the ancient biological soil crust made by living organisms — what might be perceived as empty land is actually rich with life.

Visually appreciating Grand Staircase-Escalante requires patience and attention to the small details that the grandiose landscape offers. Direct sunlight and shadows are an important aspect of these details, adding a subtle layer of color and complexity that creates a dynamic cycle of transformation, a chaotic dance that is nonetheless peaceful. To capture these contrasts, the film combines video and imagery from Escalante with photographs and videos of woodcut prints, stencils, and remnants from the making. The voice of Escalante is a whisper, demanding stillness to be heard. The audio is composed entirely of sounds gathered inside the boundaries of the National Monument. 

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