Creatures of the Lines

Creatures of the Lines, by Sonia Levy

Thursday 25th May 2023 | 3-5pm.
Media Research Building (MRB) 05 Screen 1
Goldsmiths, University of London

The MA Ecology, Culture & Society is delighted to invite you to a screening and discussion of Sonia Levy’s art film, “Creatures of the Lines,” developed in collaboration with the environmental anthropologist Heather Anne Swanson.

The film explores the transformation of English waterscapes via the construction of canals, investigating how desires for economic growth and linear progress have straightened forms in England’s watery terrains.

As arteries of the British Empire, canals linked Indian cotton fields to domestic textile mills, facilitating vast ecological transformations from monoculture agriculture in the colonies to industrial discharges in England’s waters, soils, and airs – and thus operate as critical sites for examining often-overlooked histories of colonial capitalism and their material presences in contemporary British worlds.

Attempting to work from within muddy and submerged perspectives rather than grand narratives or “god’s-eye” viewpoints, the film begins inside canals, telling stories from within the lines, raising questions about ecological transformations and their ties to the infrastructures of the global political economy.

Sonia Levy‘s inquiry-led practice considers shifting modes of engagement with more-than-human worlds in light of prevailing Earthly precarity. Her work operates at the confluence of knowledge practices to interrogate Western expansionist and extractivist logics. She is the 2023-2024 recipient of the European Marine Board artist-in-residence. She was the 2022 selected artist of the S+T+ARTS4Water residency hosted by TBA21 in Venice and the 2021 commissioned artist at Radar Loughborough and Aarhus University’s “Ecological Globalization Research Group”. She has exhibited in the UK and internationally, including shows and screenings at Centre Pompidou, Paris; Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, Paris; Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris; ICA, London; BALTIC, Gateshead; Obsidian Coast, Bradford-on- Avon; Goldsmiths College, London; The Showroom, London; Pump House Gallery, London; ZKM Karlsruhe, Art Laboratory Berlin; HDKV, Heidelberg; Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA; Verksmiðjan á Hjalteyri, Iceland; and The Húsavík Whale Museum, Iceland. Her work has been published by MIT Press and Thames&Hudson.