Sasha Litvintseva: Films, Writing, Projects, Info

Asbestos

20 min / 2016 / in collaboration with Graeme Arnfield

Mined, extracted, and woven, asbestos was the magic mineral. Towns became cities under its patronage, Persian kings entertained guests with its fireproof nature, and centuries of industry raked in the profits of its global application. We now live in the remains of this toxic dream, a dream that with the invention of electron microscopes revealed our material history as a disaster in waiting. Yet the asbestos industry has far from left us with extraction from the soil transforming to extraction from our walls. We are now faced with two options: to remove this material from our homes and start anew, or to build upon its residue. Removal is a dangerous and costly operation. So often we choose to live amongst it instead, choking out our walls with plastic tarping: the failed promises of modernism literally entombed all around us. Shot in the mining town of Asbestos,Quebec, home to the world’s largest asbestos mine that only stopped extraction in 2012, the film is a meditation on the entanglement of the fragility of bodies, the nonlinearity of progress, and the persistence of matter.

Related:

Interview: The Magic Mineral, LUX online

Asbestos: Inside and outside, toxic and haptic

Geological filmmaking: seeing geology through film and film through geology

Geological Filmmaking 

Installed as an immersive video installation, Asbestos solo show at Roaming Projects, London, UK, 2017

Walkthrough the installation: 3 rooms were covered in red plastic, as in the final sequence of the film, and audiences were given red hazmat suits to wear.