Six Sámi cinematographic works for the Venice Biennale

Photo: Recordings contributed by director Elle Márjá Eira.

International Sami Film Institute (ISFI) launches YEAR 360°a presentation of six newly created 360 degree films made by six Central Sámi artists from across Sápmi.

The world premiere will take place on August 26 at the 59th International Venice Biennale – known as perhaps the most important arena in the world for presenting art to international audiences.

YEAR 360° is part of the Sami Pavilion, the landmark transformation of the Nordic Pavilion, at this year’s Biennale. The project was developed in collaboration with the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) and the Norwegian Film Institute (NFI), and features the spearhead of Sami cinema and digital art.

“Árran is a Northern Sami word for the fireplace in a lávvu, and around the fire we have told stories since time immemorial. With ÁRRAN 360°, we want to invite audiences around the world to experience the power of our distinctive visual storytelling tradition,” says Anne Lajla Utsi, Director of ISFI.

The project contains six new 360 degree screen works by six Central Sami artists:

Ann Holmgren Aurebekk, ovias: “A young woman embarks on a journey into another dreamlike world where she discovers that every little action we take in this world has a direct impact on a multitude of other realities.”

She Marja Eira, Eallu girdnu: “Standing in the heart of girdnu, surrounded by reindeer moving in a circle, the viewer will get a sense of the great forces that lie at the heart of reindeer herding.”

Hans Pieski, Muohtacalmmit: “The enormous power of water and human dependence on it are at the center of this surreal video work.”

Liselotte Wajstedt, Edni: “Háldi is a forest animal that can attract children to the forest. Is this just part of Sami mythology or is it as true as you and me? »

Marja Helander, Áfruvvá: “Áfruvvá is a Sami sea creature, the ghost of a drowned man. She yearns for warmth and emerges from the sea into a world devoid of humans and experiences humanity through an abandoned museum.”

Silja Somby, Goavd“After a sacred drum is removed by a priest, we are taken on a journey to other times and spaces that reveal more about the inner power of the drum.”

An innovative aspect of YEAR 360° is that the films are shown in a specially constructed 10-meter high lávvu which is equipped with a 360 degree screen designed to show the cinematic works. The Lávvuen will be installed at the northern end of the Venetian island of San Servolo, between the Giardini della Biennale and the Lido, seat of the Venice Film Festival.

This transformation of the Nordic pavilion is a historic celebration of Sami art and culture, says the ISFI press release. In connection with ÁRRAN 360°, several other artistic events will take place, including a program of works in augmented reality (AR), seminars, conferences and a program of 360° films by indigenous artists from Canada, organized by Julie Nagam and Heather Igloliorte.

Alec Dittman

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