Plant Life [1997 – 2005]

Films, Installations, Performances, Residencies

Still from Plant Life. Dir: CiCi Blumstein, UK / Germany 1997 – 2005 … The Root of the Chimney

Still from Plant Life. Dir: CiCi Blumstein, UK / Germany 1997 – 2005 … The Root of the Chimney

Plant Life – an elusive creature roams through the remains of a 19th century steel cable works. Its movements trace the decay of spaces and machinery, capturing echoes and memories of human workings in this place.

Background

Plant Life is a poetic film document of the last moments of a steel cable works in the heart of my home town. Inside this 150-year old, long derelict site, the space makes its own statements and quiet transformations.

Plant Life was filmed at the former Gempt Steel Cable Works in Lengerich, Germany, during a 9-month residency in 1997 – 98. The factory site covered an area the size of three football fields, housing several huge factory buildings. Explored in the film are: the Forge, the Great Oily Hall, the Power House, the Steam Machines, the Root of the Chimney, and the Cable-Pulling Beds. All locations are internal spaces and were captured as we found them. In one scene, the Creature wears hair made from steel filaments. These beautiful, delicate filaments are the raw material for making steel rope. One last bale had been forgotten within the factory’s grounds. Almost everything you see in Plant Life was totally demolished shortly after filming. Left for a long time afterwards was a wasteland, with rubble mounds and a single wall still standing. Silent monuments, spaces for a new story…

Still from Plant Life. Dir: CiCi Blumstein, UK / Germany 1997 – 2005 … The Cable-Pulling Beds

Still from Plant Life. Dir: CiCi Blumstein, UK / Germany 1997 – 2005 … The Cable-Pulling Beds

Now

This new story began with the creation of a new arts centre, the Gempt Halle, built on the former factory grounds, and incorporating one of the old buildings, the forge. A full program of events, including music and theatre, art exhibitions and fairs, now animates the space.

Plant Life has been shown at international film festivals & events such as the Lux Open Film Festival 2003 in London, and at Tabula Rasa, a large-scale urban projection event in Croydon, 2002. It is also part of Unbekannter Ort [Unknown Place], a sculptural video installation with two screens and rubble field, first shown in 2002 at Sensuous Structures, an exhibition of sensuous architecture at the East London School of Architecture.

Plant Life credits:

Written, directed, performed & produced: CiCi Blumstein
Camera: Lars Wahlbrink, Dieter Mueller
Edit 1997: Horst Rehder, Lars Wahlbrink
Edit 2005: CiCi Blumstein
Sound Environment: The Clear Collective / Testcard

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