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Those That, at a Distance, Resemble Another

Jessica Sarah Rinland


With an elephant’s ivory tusk as the protagonist, a meditation upon the endless tactility of museological and ecological conservation, inviting reflection upon forms of representation, replicas, and embodiments of various materials, disciplines, and institutions.

The first documentary feature from the Argentinian-British artist Jessica Sarah Rinland prolongs the work already begun in her previous shorts on the different forms of conserving the living, notably zoological. Filmed mainly in close shots, the processes used by conservators worldwide to ensure the integrity of their artefacts cluster around the main storyline which recounts the reconstruction of the tusk of an elephant poached in Malawi and then deposited in a museum of natural history over a century ago. The focus on fragments heightens the tactile and sensorial dimension of these processes, as does the use of field recordings simulating at times an original natural environment, at times the rustling of materials and tools. But beyond the hyperaesthetic pleasure she kindles, this focus tends to diffuse off-screen the idea of carefulness. The painstaking repair of a crack reverberates in the softness of an ordinary conversation between the filmmaker and her cameraman, Luis Arnias. The playful motif of manicured nails creates a community between the filmmaker and the experts she is working with. In the frequent close company of objects and replica-making, and due to a kind of empathy of the affects, gestures and knowledge, this care initiates a more mysterious process of reincarnation and transmission that eludes ontological hierarchies.

Antoine Thirion

PRINT SOURCE: Jessica Sarah Rinland,, +447713252713

Jessica Sarah Rinland

Argentine-British artist filmmaker, Jessica Sarah Rinland has exhibited work internationally. She has won awards including Special Mention at Locarno Film Festival for her first Feature Film, Primer Premio at Biennale de Imagen en Movimiento, Arts + Science Award at Ann Arbor Film Festival, ICA’s Best Experimental Film at LSFF, and M.I.T’s Schnitzer prize for excellence in the arts. In 2017/8 she was a Film Studies Center Fellow at Harvard University and is currently an Associate Artist at Somerset House Studios.

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