November 14, 2017 - Ballroom Marfa - Artists’ Film International 2017: Serpent Rain
November 14, 2017

Ballroom Marfa

Denise Ferreira da Silva and Arjuna Neuman, Serpent Rain, 2016. Digital video still. Courtesy the artists.


Artists’ Film International 2017
Serpent Rain
Denise Ferreira da Silva and Arjuna Neuman
November 18–19, 2017

Ballroom Marfa
108 East San Antonio Street
Marfa, TX 79843
United States
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Ballroom Marfa presents Serpent Rain, a collaboration between Denise Ferreira da Silva and Arjuna Neuman. This video is Ballroom’s selection for Artists’ Film International 2017. AFI is an international collaboration organized by Whitechapel Gallery, London, that showcases emerging artists working in video and animation. For Ballroom’s AFI 2017 presentation, Serpent Rain will inspire a weekend of critical inquiry and public discussion of racial and environmental justice, water, and human migration.

As the artists explain, Serpent Rain is as much an experiment in working together as it is a film about the future. The collaboration began with the discovery of a sunken slave ship, and an artist asking a philosopher—how do we get to the post-human without technology? And the philosopher replying—maybe we can make a film without time. The result is a video that speaks from inside the cut between slavery and resource extraction, between black lives matter and the matter of life, between the state changes of elements, timelessness and tarot.

On Saturday, November 18 Serpent Rain will screen at Marfa’s Crowley Theater along with 12 videos from around the world. The international program will be be looped into a day of drop-in screenings from 1-6pm. This will be followed by the feature presentation of Serpent Rain at 7pm, with a conversation with Ferreira da Silva and Neuman to follow.

The films in the AFI 2017 program were selected by Fundación PRÓA, Argentina; GAMeC, Italy; Hammer Museum, United States; Hanoi DOCLAB, Vietnam; Istanbul Modern, Turkey; Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia, Portugal; Para/Site, Hong Kong; Project 88, India; Videoforum Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Germany; and Whitechapel Gallery, London.

The AFI 2017 weekend continues on Sunday, November 19 at 1pm with The Water Body, a symposium organized by Ferreira da Silva and Neuman as an expansion of Serpent Rain and a connector to their next project, Deep Implicancy. The Water Body brings together different perspectives, disciplines, and backgrounds to engage in a conversation about water, locally and globally. This discussion between activists, philosophers, artists, and residents of the Big Bend starts with the realization that water is the main element in our existence. Participants include Timothy Morton, author of Hyperobjects and co-curator of the Spring 2018 Ballroom exhibition of the same name; Rafa Esparza, the artist behind Ballroom’s current Tierra. Sangre. Oro exhibition; Yolanda Blue Horse, co-founder of the Society of Native Nations; and ecological systems designer, consultant, teacher, and permacultural grower Nance Klehm.

Serpent Rain was commissioned by Stefano Harney (freethought) for The Bergen Assembly. The AFI 2017 program at Ballroom Marfa is organized by Executive Director & Curator Laura Copelin with Public Programs Associate Sarah Melendez.

For more information on this program, please contact press [​at​]

This program is made possible with support from Brown Foundation, Inc., Houston; City of Marfa; National Endowment for the Arts; Texas Commission on the Arts; Ballroom Marfa Board of Trustees; and Ballroom Marfa members.

Ballroom Marfa
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Serpent Rain
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