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Against Entropy: an evening of films in conjunction with Robert Smithson: Time Crystals


Wednesday 22 August, 6pm
MUMA | Monash University Museum of Art
Ground Floor, Building F
Monash University, Caulfield Campus
FREE /// Program duration: 71 minutes

Against Entropy film screening - Silica

Drawing on science fiction tonalities and aesthetics, Against Entropy explores our prurient interest in entropy as something to be thwarted and as part of human nature. Curated by John Edmond, Against Entropy is the first in a series of three film screenings in conjunction with the Robert Smithson: Time Crystals exhibition.

The New Monuments

Conor Bateman | 2018, 6 minutes

Artists like Robert Smithson, Donald Judd and Peter Hutchinson borrowed liberally from science fiction film and literature in their work. This collage treats the marvellous, seemingly indestructible, objects of mid-century science fiction cinema as artworks in their own right.

Courtesy of Conor Bateman
Supported by UQ Art Museum and Monash University Museum of Art

Maxwell’s Demon

Hollis Frampton | 1968, 4 minutes

In 1867, physicist James Clerk Maxwell proposed a way to void the second law of thermodynamics: have a demon control a portal between two chambers, and as faster, hotter molecules approach, have it quickly open and shut the portal so that the slower, cooler molecules remain, ensuring that the temperatures remain segregated, and no entropic equilibrium is produced. Frampton’s Demon, breaks film into its constitute molecules: cool buzzing sounds, hot primary colours, and quick exercising motion to represent this attempt to thwart entropy. Frampton was a contemporary of Robert Smithson’s and an influence on the artist.

Courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive


Pia Borg | 2017, 23 minutes

A location scout journeys to an opal-mining town in the South Australian desert in preparation for a film shoot of a science fiction film set on another planet. Here she encounters a settlement on the edge of abandonment, surrounded by signs of the past—both mining and Aboriginal inhabitants—and signs of the future—science fiction props and scenes. In this speculative fiction-essay work, Borg examines notions of preservation and belonging, comparing film and crystal formation, contrasting 35mm and CGI, found and fake opals and locations, to ultimately study how places become alien or familiar.

Courtesy of Pia Borg

From Source to Poem

Rosa Barba | 2016, 12 minutes
35mm film, color, optical sound 

In the mid 1960s, in Culpepper, Virginia, the US government undertook a large series of land works to build a Federal Reserve Bunker inside Mount Pony. This radiation-hardened facility opened in 1969 and was designed to safeguard the US financial system in case of nuclear war. It stored money, the central node of America’s electronic funds transfer system, and the staff and logistical support required to provide ‘continuity of government’.

In 2007, this bunker was turned into the Library of Congress’s National Audio-Visual Conservation Center. Barba’s epic film explores this immense archive where nitrate film, magnetic tape and digital storage fill spaces that were once lined with pallets of money, tinned food and supercomputers—mingling nuclear and archival preservation.

Courtesy of Rosa Barba

Sound of a Million Insects, Light of a Thousand Stars

Tomonari Nishikawa | 2014, 2 minutes

On the 24th of July, 2014, Tomonari Nishikawa buried 100 feet of 35mm colour negative film under fallen leaves alongside a country road. The night was beautiful with a starry sky, and numerous summer insects were singing loudly. There the film remained from sunset to sunrise, absorbing radioactivity from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, about 25km away. The film’s cobalt blue flickers and shimmers, visualising invisible decay.

Courtesy of Tomonari Nishikawa


Ben Rivers | 2016, 19 minutes

Filmed inside Biosphere 2 in Arizona and drawing on texts commissioned from science fiction writer Mark von Schlegell, Urth explores our visions of the future, constructed ecosystems, and what they preserve, through our encounter with the final log instalments of a woman sealed inside such an unforgiving environment. Evoking what we know of the Biosphere 2 experiments (the vast distance between Earth as a modelled ecosystem and as a scalable actuality) Urth marks out the limits of human kind’s relationship with the natural world.

Courtesy of LUX and Ben Rivers


Lucy Parker | 2016, 6 minutes

The work was made for the exhibition The sun went in, the fire went out: landscapes in film, performance and text in Chelsea Space, London, 2016. This title was itself taken from a notebook of the archaeologist and writer Jacquetta Hawkes, author of A Land (1951), a poetic history of the British Isles examined through its geology. In the wild, two women cycle through various arduous methods of igniting a fire.

Courtesy of LUX and Lucy Parker

Robert Smithson: Time crystals is made possible through support from the Terra Foundation for American Art.
This exhibition has been developed in cooperation with the Holt/Smithson Foundation.
Robert Smithson: Time Crystals is a partnership between The University of Queensland Art Museum and Monash University Museum of Art.

Terra Foundation logo

Uni of Queensland logo

UQ Art Museum logo

Image: Silica 2017, film still. Courtesy of Pia Borg

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