Lynne Siefert, …---…, 2021. 16mm film, 15:30 minute loop, silent. Courtesy of the artist.
The Pacific Island nation states of Kiribati, Narau, Tuvalu, The Marshall Islands, and The Solomon Islands are facing existential catastrophe due to the effects of rising sea
levels, super storms, and the salinization of their freshwater sources. The islands themselves are predicted to disappear or become completely uninhabitable within the next 30–100 years.
...---... takes excerpts of speeches delivered to the United Nations by the heads of state from each of these countries and transcribes them into Morse code, the first long-distance universal form of communication, made up of dots and dashes, and most often used to communicate maritime distress by way of flashing light.
Two screenshots sourced and composed from Google Maps from each nation the year the speech was delivered are assigned as either a ‘dot’ or a ‘dash’ (the “dot” image equals one 16mm frame, and the “dash” image equals three frames) and are
transferred onto 16mm film.
The 16 mm filmstrip now becomes a continuous scroll of Morse code which could be read unaided, while the projected images provide a visceral experience of the
speeches which have continually gone unseen and unheard for years.
This synthesis of image and text collapses virtual, cognitive, and literal geographies that were once remote, abstract, and obscured into a concrete material state that is now in close proximity to the viewer.
Lynne Siefert is a moving image artist originally from Seattle. Her 16mm films and digital works have been exhibited in festivals such as the Berlinale, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Antimatter Media Art, L'Alternativa Barcelona Independent Film Festival, and in galleries such as Glass Box Gallery and Microscope Gallery, among others. Her films have received awards at EXiS, Chicago Underground, and FLEX. In 2019 she became the first moving image artist to win Seattle Art Museum’s Betty Bowen Award.