Samir Bhowmik’s film Lost Islands is based on a work of art with the same name. The piece was exhibited at the 2021 Helsinki Biennial, spreading into the surroundings of Vallisaari and taking viewers on a journey to explore the island’s actual and imagined infrastructure and technology. The guided walking tour followed the topography of the island, its forest paths and water bodies, and its historic buildings, ruins and bunkers. Together with his working group, Bhowmik had built a performative whole consisting of installations, performance art, modern dance, singing and experimental music along the route.
“Lost Islands takes you on a performative journey through the wilderness and ruins of Vallisaari where black and brown bodies – the repressed ghosts of technology and infrastructure exist in search of utopia, but only struggle in the state of a black inferno.
As a performative commentary on the oppression of the human in the post-Anthropocene, Lost Islands explores the conquest of nature, of common lands, and the laboring body by colonialism for resource extraction. By performative movements, it investigates the capture of knowledge and of black and brown bodies by mechanization into modern technologies and infrastructure. Finally, the ultimate transformation of these bodies into automation driven by Artificial Intelligence provokes an existential dilemma – an enduring question for us to answer in the present and the near future.
Lost Islands is inspired by Kathryn Yusoff’s A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None, Jussi Parikka’s The Geology of Media, Tove Jansson’s The Island, the writings of Dionne Brand, Sylvia Winter, N.K. Jemisin, Achille Mbembe and others.”
Samir Bhowmik (b. 1975) is a multi-disciplinary artist and architect, engaged in artistic projects in Berlin, New York and Helsinki. His current work examines the architectural, infrastructural and energetic entanglements of cultural memory and the environment. Using multi-sensorial methods to investigate infrastructure, he attempts to generate poetic vignettes between the clashing of multiple materialities, networks and bodies. Through performance installations, Bhowmik often creates participatory narratives, and immersive performances that act as probes within which the imaginaries of hidden, contested and lost topographies unfold.
Samir Bhowmik: Lost Islands, 2021
HAM Helsinki Art Museum
Eteläinen Rautatiekatu 8
HAM Hall 28 October – 31 November 2021
Duration 18 min, film in English
Screenings on Thursdays and Sundays within the museum’s opening hours