This (very) short film forms part of Cass's ongoing project Lifetimes. He interviewed Tony Calleja as part of a documentary film he was working on with photographer / film-maker Gonzaga Gómez-Cortázar, on the island of Gozo (Malta). Tony's son is the artist Joseph Calleja. Cass spoke with Tony about his life on the island, and about Joseph's decision to dedicate his life to making artwork.
In collaboration with photographer + film-maker Gonzaga Gómez-Cortázar. Literally translated, Encarnado (flesh-red) suggests incarnation, impregnation, or indeed the personification of a place, an object. El bosque: the forest (the Sierra Maria-Los Vélez Natural Park), its sometimes-hazardous Aleppo Pines, covering most hillsides for miles around: planted by man.
Sketchbook Notes: Struck by lightning, this patch of forest burned into a surreal vision, extinguished and exaggerated further by vivid artificially red fire-retardant. Man-made substances, poured over ‘natural’. Gómez-Cortázar and I are artists who scrutinize, who document traces. Much of our work is about recognition, about disappearance, about familiarity and indeed the loss of familiarity: this patch of forested hillside we both knew well, rendered unrecognisable, alien. The film is one of contrasts, both aesthetically and conceptually: of a sinister painterly beauty, of tragedy, and part homage to heroic action (in the case of the fire-fighters).
Gonzaga Gómez-Cortázar & David Cass • Created for the purpose of exhibition, hence the film is not viewable on this website
El Bosque Encarnado reached round two of judging in the BAFTA Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2015
Selected & screened by IKONO TV (Berlin) 2015
Presented during ARTCOP21 (Paris) 2015
Exhibited in Till It's Gone (alongside Yoko Ono) in Istanbul Museum of Modern Art 2016
Featured in Rome Media Art Festival 2016 April (in partnership with Google)
Featured as part of TIVAF (Tasmanian International Video Art Festival) 2016
Exhibited in ECOS (Sala Rekalde, Bilbao) 2016
Sketchbook Notes: Much of my 2014 work documented the small events that form part of everyday life for the residents of Cortijada Los Gázquez (an off grid farm-house in the Almería alpine-desert). Things that I previously took for granted: running water, electricity, heating. Things I’d never had to think too much about before. Wood has to be gathered, chopped, stored – to burn for heating, to fuel the boilers. Power gathered by solar panels and a wind turbine. At the time of creating this film, we were experiencing a drought, and so water had to be bottled (almost daily) from the spring in the nearest village (11.5 km away), or brought to the house by tanker. This water is used incredibly carefully, there’s very little water wastage, and even the sewage water is filtered and fed back out to the land, divided into black and grey water. Filmed without stabilization, so as to emulate the rocking motion of a ship at sea, this film documents the arrival of rain: the water tanker. This ancient lumbering beast delivers 10,000 litres of water at a time to the house.