Studio intro

A collage of green leaves, white daisies with yellow centres, and stripes of yellow and red streak across the image.
Linda Stupart, Watershed, 2020 (video still) – image courtesy of the artist

Two Summers ago, I went on a boat to the Arctic Circle and swam in the sea and crawled through the ice as a virus and an alien and myself. It was very cold and intense, but I finally felt close, really close, to the melting polar Ice Caps.

2020 Summer and the virus was suddenly something really tangible and terrifying for everyone in the world. We were stuck inside, but were allowed to take a daily walk. I wanted to carry on thinking about ecologies and nature and bodies and intimacy, so I decided to get into the River Cole – a river in Birmingham that runs really near my house. Because it’s in Birmingham, the river is dirty and full of the run-off of people’s lives and this felt/feels important. So, I started the process of walking down it.

In the last year I have done five walks down the river, moving further towards the mouth each time.  In this residency I hope to do a lot more walks, getting further away from my home and deeper into the river. I want to also spend time editing, writing, and collaging with the footage of walks I have shot since I made this film in 2020. In the Arctic we didn’t have any access to the internet. Now, cyberspace has become one of the only places we can be together and it’s been both horrible and warm – the way that everything is connected online – like root systems or rivers, even though a lot of the internet (like root systems or rivers) is rotten.

It’s good to reside here for a month and work inside this ecology, too. Look around and get in touch using comments if you’d like.

Interview with Jaene Castrillon

Installation view of an exhibition. On the left of the image is a tree-shaped collage of many, many black and white images (it's not very clear as the images are small, but some are portraits of people) - they are lit in a sunshine yellow light. The floor of what is assumed to be a gallery is chrome, and reflects the rest of the room. 12 TV monitors make a wall on the right of the image, on 2 screens are an animation of a man drinking from a bottle, on another is a hand touching the screen, other screens are whited out or unclear. On a On the wall and written over the photos in large handwriting is written: I don't want to alarm anyone but I think there's a lil alkyhol in the..." unreadable from there.
Jaene F. Castrillon, Perpetual, 2015 (installation) – image courtesy of the artist

Jamie Wyld (Vital Capacities director): Thanks for being part of the Vital Capacities residency programme! Can you say a little about yourself and your work, perhaps in relation to what you’re thinking about doing during the residency?

Jaene Castrillon: I am a 2Spirit interdisciplinary artist, activist, author & award winning filmmaker who explores my relationship to the world through Indigenous teachings, ceremony and the wisdom of the land. I describe myself as a settler to Turtle Island of mixed heritages (indigenous Colombian & Hong Kong Chinese) who was raised on the teachings of Elder Isaac Day of Serpent River First Nations.

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