elder (2014-2018, MFA Thesis)

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Thesis for Masters of Fine Arts, York University
Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Portugal, Iceland, Canada
1:00:07 / 2018 / sound / colour / English

Elder is a collection of branches from a family tree long overgrown, a travelogue of a quest to uncover the legacy of the Vikings and their influence on Celts and other civilizations throughout history. On the journey, the film follows the Vikings’ presence throughout Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Iceland, extracting their memory from each site and coupling it with less dominant cultural memory.

Both a history of a people and a history of essay cinema, Elder begins with the trimming of an elder tree in a family backyard, then traces the significance of the act through a history of superstition and cultural memory that travelled from Scandinavia to the Celtic territories, before finding a home in North America.

Working from a readymade narrative, Elder follows an autoethnographic and non-linear narrative collage of aged 16mm film, film organically hand-processed with handmade elderberry developer, and landscapes revealed by a burdensome journey. A personal diary dissecting history and heirlooms, Elder considers history carved as a monument, vulnerable to the erosions of time and truth.