Between the Bottomlands & the World explores Beardstown, IL, a rural Midwestern town of 6000 people, a place of global exchange and international mobility, inscribed by post-NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) realities. A three part video documentary, Between the Bottomlands uses the form of the video essay and actor-interpreted interviews with long-time residents, recent immigrants, and activists in and around Beardstown.
Following the screening, artists Ryan Griffis and Sarah Ross will be in conversation with UIC Professor Salomé Aguilera Skvirsky.
Individually and collectively, Ryan Griffis and Sarah Ross’ art practices include a variety of socially engaged projects. Between the Bottomlands is part of Griffis and Ross’ broader project Regional Relationships , which commissions artists, scholars, writers, and activists to create works that investigate the natural, industrial, and cultural landscapes of a region. Ross is a core organizer for the Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project connecting teaching artists and scholars to men at Stateville Prison. Griffis writes and produces for the Temporary Travel Office, investigating the potential of tourism as a critical activity.
Salomé Aguilera Skvirsky’s research interests include Latin American cinema, documentary film, film theory, ethnographic film, race and representation, and melodrama. Her publications include “The Postcolonial City Symphony Film and the ‘Ruins’ of Suite Habana,” Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture 19:3-4 (2013) and “Quilombo and Utopia: The Aesthetic of Labor in Linduarte Noronha’s Aruanda (1960),” Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, 20:3 (2011). Currently, she is working on a book-length manuscript titled The Aesthetic of Labor: Work, Toil, and Utopia in Latin American Political Cinema about the aesthetics and politics of what might be called the “process film genre” (i.e. a genre of films about production processes like pottery-making or salt mining) in Latin American and world film history.