A River Waits Reply:
A screening series developed in partnership between seven international arts organizations, A River Waits Reply presents moving-image works from around the world as a poetic reply to this unprecedented year. It is a year that has invited new modes of exchange at a distance, and a long overdue reckoning with deep social and political inequity that calls for new forms of solidarity.
All seven institutions will simultaneously host each video on their websites for the duration of one week, with the series as a whole extending over seven weeks. Each work has been selected by a partner organisation as a response to the videos that preceded it, producing a cascading sequence and a winding river of thought, interpreted through the aesthetic and social values of their respective cultural context.
The title of the series is borrowed from a poem by Emily Dickinson.
Ria Pacquée, As long as I see birds flying I know I am alive (2015)
Selected by ARGOS:
"Watching the previous video, Silent (2017) by Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz, we were struck by its layered references to dissent, protest, and resistance. Its setting in public space is particularly notable in these times of domestic lockdown and isolation. Public space, with its implied openness and promise of dynamic interactions, has oftentimes been denied us in the past year. Yet despite these limitations, various forms of protest and collective gathering have occurred in the streets across the globe. Thinking about these sites has led us to a more poetic use of public space in the work of Ria Pacquée, a Belgian artist from the ARGOS collection, who explores public life as a dynamic construction through which identities are shaped.
In As long as I see birds flying I know I am alive, Pacquée assembles recordings predominantly made in public spaces in Paris, Kathmandu, Athens, Istanbul, Bruges, New York, Varanasi and Antwerp. By juxtaposing images of the sacred with those of a worldly nature, she undercuts the anthropological and scientific potential of her material – a disorienting strategy often used by the artist elsewhere. Two recurring elements, clouds of drifting smoke and prowling birds, evoke a dreamlike and looming atmosphere which makes even the most common gesture appear like being part of an age-old ritual, detaching these motifs from the geocultural realms they belong to."
Ria Pacquée (b. Belgium) is an Antwerp-based artist. https://riapacquee.com/