• Teriberka , half abandoned fishing town // Excerpt from visuals

AFTER ITS OWN DEATH

 “After its own death” was born during a residency for Unsound Dislocation: Murmansk, located in the Russian Arctic. Created by NIVHEK (Liz Harris/ Grouper) and visual artist Marcel Weber, also known as MFO, the paradoxically minimalist, harsh, and dreamlike work will explore landscape, nostalgia and isolation via sound and image.
“After its own death” is commissioned by Unsound Festival, the Barbican and Goethe-Institut, with Murmansk partners Fridaymilk.

PRESS ON “AFTER ITS OWN DEATH”

„Not only is there the genuinely stunning cinematography to enjoy, but also the therapeutic choral calling of Liz Harris that works not in dislocation from the piece, but in harmony. The dislocation is in the space and place we are viewing in the video, in the direct conflicts in the landscape, of cars buried under mountains of snow, and industrial factories booming out smoke all hours of the day.
A gig with a setup like this is rare in London, and something that can be really enjoyed.” –
Robbie Wojciechowski, The Line of Best Fit

„[..] the spacious and ethereal sounds produced by Liz Harris under her NIVHEK moniker are purifying. [..] MFO’s shots of Murmansk and the village of Teriberka are slow and ghostly, showing industry, empty streets, and individuals with cold, disarming clarity.” – Eoin Murray, The Quietus

PAST PERFORMANCES

Feb/March 2017 – Two residencies in Murmansk, RU
24th Aug 2017 – Aurora Cinema, Murmansk, RU
12th Oct 2017 – Kijów Centrum, Unsound Festival, Krakow, PL
8th Dec 2017 – Barbican, Unsound Dislocation, London, UK

Murmansk is located at the fringes of the world, nothing beyond it but the Arctic Ocean, endless patches of ice stretching all the way to the North Pole. An outpost of human kind; and yet a major city, capital harbour and industrial centre. Situated deep in Russian winter, reverberating a lot of its rich culture and history.
When Unsound’s Mat Schulz approached me for this project it seemed a very welcome adventure. A chance to leave the realm of the well-known, to leave the Central European comfort zone, to go and explore. And who could resist collaborating with Liz Harris anyway?
Also, in times of politics of divide, of demagogues talking people apart, I was curious to see Russia, meet its people and participate in a project crossing borders, hoping to develop something that allows for a different perspective.

In February and March 2017 I spent two residencies there and experienced Murmansk like this: despite a vast and hostile world of snow and ice surrounding the city and a dirty and desolate (yet industrious) economy within it, its citizen were incredibly friendly and open, and turned their city into some winter-wonderland at night. Maybe it felt that strong because of the contrast?
Filming the people of Murmansk, its harbour and industry (pushed around by security guards), the zone of ice around it (a challenge for the gear) and the half-abandoned fishing town of Teriberka (truly at the end of the world) I started to pursue a direction of ambiguity. Portrait the Russian North as it is, rather then draw a one-dimensional picture of faded colour.

Liz‘ music is of ethereal quality; choral work, non-repeating rhythmic field recordings, slow Mellotron pieces – compositions of elemental, minimal beauty. Those characteristics had to apply for the visual side as well. In long conversations we found ourselves agreeing on a less literal way of narrating the piece and to look at the Murmansk region from a dream-like, poetic, if you want: spiritual perspective. Slavic culture, especially the Russian fairytales I grew up with, holds something deeply connected to nature, to the world around us, to dreams and visions in it – some subconcious way of understanding – another strong influence for this work.
Ultimately the piece shaped out to be a live performed Film and felt as a well-rounded experience that portraits the Russian North truthfully. –m