Ben Russell: Good Luck
Screening Saturday, April 21st, 2018
2pm @ the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada and SAW Video Media Art Centre are pleased to co-present a screening of Good Luck, a recent film by American artist, filmmaker and curator Ben Russell. Russell will attend the screening in person to introduce the film, and participate in a Q+A with the audience.
Filmed between a state-owned large-scale underground mine in the war-torn state of Serbia and an illegal mining collective in the tropical heat of Suriname, Good Luck is a visceral non-fiction portrait of hope and sacrifice in a time of global economic turmoil.
Beginning with a 600-metrr descent into the depths of the earth, Good Luck shines a flashlight onto the human face of labor in the time-warp’d working conditions of an underground state-owned mine in Serbia. The hiss of oxygen cuts through the diesel rumble, the walls of the office vibrate with explosions two levels below; war-torn and half-forgotten, these miners’ physical struggle finds its mirror a continent away – in the tropical heat of an illegal Surinamese gold mine. The water pumps roar under the blinding sun; silver liquid rolls across the hand of a Saramaccan Maroon as he adds mercury to dirt in a never-ending search for gold.
Formed between dark and light, cold and heat, North and South, Good Luck immerses its viewer in the precarious natural and social environments of two distinct labor groups so as to better understand the bonds that men share. Here is the human foundation of capital, revealed.
Ben Russell (b.1976, USA) is an artist, filmmaker and curator whose work lies at the intersection of ethnography and psychedelia. His films and installations are in direct conversation with the history of the documentary image, providing a time-based inquiry into trance phenomena and evoking the research of Jean Rouch, Maya Deren and Michael Snow, among others. Russell received a 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship, a 2009 and 2017 FIPRESCI International Critics Prize and has presented his work at documenta 14, MOMA NYC, Tate Modern, and the Centre Pompidou. Curatorial projects include Magic Lantern (Providence, USA, 2005-2007), BEN RUSSELL (Chicago, USA, 2009-2011), and Hallucinations (Athens, Greece, 2017). He currently resides in Los Angeles.