Rankleburn 2019 Lily Ashrowan
Rankleburn, 2019, Lily Ashrowan

MIA Screens is an online showcase featuring contemporary experimental films and artist moving image works with introductions by the artists who made them.


Lily Ashrowan introduces Rankleburn (2019):

This film was shot at my childhood home, with my father’s 16mm camera and my mother as performer. For both me as filmmaker and my mother as performer that rural landscape contains within it a home for us and so requires constant maintenance in order to live. I wanted to explore the rural landscape as not simply beautiful but also active and mundane – a landscape to be lived in and not simply looked at. In my research and performance based practice, I had been looking at ideas around repetitive and non-productive labour as both a Sisyphean philosophy towards life and also as a means of resistance to capitalism. Sleeping, for example, is normally eaten at by insidious 24/7 technology and the pressures of individual productivity over pleasure. It was important to me therefore that I ended the film with this image of my mother at rest.

I was working with one roll of 16mm film and a hand wound Bolex camera which set a pace to the film and naturally informed its construction, as each action had to be taken in one take and the camera re-wound every 10 seconds. As a result, I envisioned it as a series of symbolic actions, each constructed in response to the objects and sites found around the Rankleburn river – a wheelbarrow, a machete for chopping wood, a Cat’s Ear flower growing on the bank, the running water. Because of this intuitive way of working, it became a conversation with a place I am very familiar with. Shooting with my mother, rather than a performer also produces a different relationship with the camera and viewer and this translates on screen. It was a sort of portrait of her, but where my direction of her actions is also a manipulation. I hope that the film reveals this tension and tenderness.