ON GEOLOGICAL TIME, Silvia Maglioni & Graeme Thomson



by Ben Rivers

Ghost Strata (2019) is a  diary where landscape plays a huge role. The film takes its title from a geological concept. As a scientist explains in the film, “ghost strata” are theoretical layers of time. When you see the strata of sedimentary rock, you are given to understand that the space around that rock, the very space you occupy, was once filled with earth as well. Rivers composes the film as a calendar, with 12 sections, one for each month of the year of its making. Across the running time of GHOST STRATA, the artist’s travels are summed up in small ways: a sunset over a mountain, a set of photos of a trashed dormitory space, a group of hands in close-up dislodging objects from the mud of tide pools. As a counterpoint to these scenes, we find audio clips of poems and outtakes of the artist’s films. One gets the sense that these are half-formed memories – experiences that could have become films in themselves but didn’t, or snapshots too precious to burden with the weight of a beginning or an ending.