The conveyor belt, the perfectly regular spacing of the objects moving along it, the metallic whistling that lulls their passage – everything commands our intuition to recognise an industrial scene. The following shots, with their coloured hypnosis-inducing symmetry remind us of the images of a beautiful film that Alain Resnais had made on the plastics industry more than sixty years ago – The Song of Styrene. Two elements are out of place: on the belt the objects are bulbs; all around, cameras keep watch, assisted in the corners by wide reflectors that would look more at home in a film studio. In reality, we are in the triage area of an industrial greenhouse in the Netherlands. The cameras and their attached computers are there to ensure the smooth agro-industrial running of things: so that each flower bulb, each tomato has the size and shape required by the standards. Here, man has disappeared (like in Resnais’ film, surviving only as the gloved hands of workers assisting the robots) and nature itself seems a far-off memory. Yet, when night falls, as if in secret or in a mischievous dream, nature returns to make its nest under the metal beams, indifferent to the hydraulic arms that continue their work – they too are imperturbable, but suddenly resemble a form of parallel life in an astonishing sci-fi fantasy.
Gerard Ortín Castellví (b. 1988, Barcelona) is an artist and filmmaker based in London. His practice problematises contemporary representations of nature and their relation to technology through an experimental film, practice-based research. He has recently shown his work at LUX, London and exhibited at Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona. His works have been screened in places like the Anthology Film Archives, New York; Zumzeig Cinecooperativa, Barcelona; Numax, Santiago de Compostela. His film Reserve (2020) received a special mention at the 42nd edition of Festival Cinéma du réel (Paris).
La Capella, BCN Producció
Gerard Ortín Castellví
Oriol Campi Solé
Maddi Barber, Mirari Echávarri, Gerard Ortín Castellví