Inheritors is a new film installation by the artist duo Webb-Ellis contemplating coexistence in the contemporary world, with a soundtrack by composer Sven Helbig. Set on the motorways of Britain and Europe, the film takes this ubiquitous landscape as a space from which to question deeply held myths relating to human-beings and evolution.
Under the fluorescent light of truck stops, in lay-bys, and on slip-roads, this multi-layered narrative situates the human as embedded within the complex processes of communication, interpretation, and meaning-making governing ‘the more-than-human world’. Shot primarily from within an inhabited coach, which is also the artists’ home and studio, the film documents the actions and imaginings of its 13-year-old protagonist as she navigates a physical and metaphorical journey. Visions rise up from the roadside, presenting the motorway as a place alive with hidden meaning and associations.
The artists’ research into posthumanism, paleoanthropology, and biosemiotics finds expression through a story of contemporary and ancient coexistence. Working with dance artists Charlie Morrissey and Samuel Kennedy, the work will explore what it means to be ‘in contact’ with other beings, and the delicate interfaces between all life.
Inheritors will be shown first at Siobhan Davies Studios as an immersive video installation with the film projected on screens suspended in the dramatic Roof Studio space. The film will be accompanied by scribbled drawings on suspended bus windows, made partly by the unpredictable rocking of the moving vehicle whilst travelling along the motorway. The poet John Wedgwood Clarke is writing in response to the artists’ research, using it to rebuild and re-imagine a collage of voices; from the human to the Neanderthal, from the expert to the daydreaming motorist.
Webb-Ellis began developing this project through a series of week-long residencies at Siobhan Davies Studios where the artists have been in dialogue with Artistic Director Siobhan Davies and Programme Director Lauren Wright, as well as other artists using the studios. They have also participated in week-long programmes of somatically oriented professional dance and movement classes led by teachers with a range of approaches, including Skinner Releasing Technique, Experiential Anatomy, Contact Improvisation, and work with weight and gravity.
Read an interview about the project in Aesthetica Magazine here