Science becomes fiction, mysterious creatures haunt the living, and buildings sing of lost futures in the experimental documentaries of artist duo Chu-Li Shewring and Adam Gutch.
Taking inspiration from uncanny aspects of the natural world, they work with archive, documentary material and delicately crafted soundscapes to create unique realities that sit somewhere between fact and fiction.
From the jungles of Borneo and the kelp forests of the UK’s south coast, to a scientist’s laboratory and the belly of a decommissioned power station – these three short films imbue recognised realities with the depth of other worlds, bringing microscopic universes, spirit worlds, folk histories and non-human voices to the surface.
Chu-Li Shewring & Adam Gutch: Working to Beat the Devil (2014, 24 mins)
“Images of all past actions incessantly passing through the brain…” – An ageing scientist troubled and confused by remembrances from his past, toils night and day to (re)discover secrets to the creation of life. The creature, struggling for existence in the natural world, journeys unceasingly to find its creator.
Chu-Li Shewring & Adam Gutch: Semangat (Spirit) (2010, 37 mins)
In the jungles of Borneo, an Iban father begins a river journey to seek help for his sick child. Troubled by uncanny visions which arise out of the bizarre world of the rainforest, father and son are drawn into a final encounter deep inside the jungle.
Chu-Li Shewring & Adam Gutch: Fawley (2022, 26 mins)
With a multitude of voices, both human and non-human, Fawley explores the environs of the soon-to-be demolished Fawley Power Station, a striking Brutalist structure built within an idyllic marshland on the edge of the New Forest. Using interviews, archive, and observation, this poetic film explores Fawley’s history and impending demolition through playful and profound discussion of themes of ‘power’, nature, environment, and unintended consequences. It addresses the deep psychological role architecture plays in our surroundings and asks, ‘What is lost when a building disappears?’
This event includes a post-screening Q&A with directors Chu-Li Shewring & Adam Gutch, hosted by artist filmmaker Nick Jordan.
Image Credit: Chu-Li Shewring & Adam Gutch, Semangat, 2010