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Creative Place-Making on the Hudson: La Retoire “Sediments” Canoe Journey + Lewis Pugh Swim

September 2, 2023 @ 11:00 am 11:30 am EDT

Where: Ingalls Avenue Boat Launch, 1 Ingalls Avenue, Troy, NY

Join the Sanctuary and Riverkeeper at Ingalls Avenue Boat Launch in North Troy to celebrate creative engagement with the Hudson River.

Le Ratoire is creating a film project entitled “Sediments”. On September 2nd, join us at 11:00-11:30 am as they depart from the Ingalls Avenue boat launch in North Troy with their canoes to travel south along the Hudson River to New York City. The artists will be traveling by canoe and will use foraged plants to process the film documentation of their trip. Le Ratoire will return in 2024 to lead a plant-based filmmaking workshop with us. Come celebrate the beginning of their river-based creative place-making journey!

12:00 pm August 31st

The Lewis Pugh Foundation will join us on 8/31 at noon for a press event marking Pugh’s Hudson River Swim as he passes through the Capital Region. Members of the Sanctuary’s Water Justice Lab, NATURE Lab, and Eco-Art Trail projects are excited to commemorate this river-based journey!

More about the two projects:

On August 13 2023, Lewis Pugh began his 315-mile (507-km) swim down the Hudson River, from its source to its end at New York City. He is doing this to highlight the critical role rivers play in a habitable planet. Lewis will explore the interconnectedness of rivers and oceans, and stress the urgent need to restore, protect and respect them. “If we want healthy oceans we also need healthy rivers — it’s that simple.”

The end of the swim will coincide with the UN General Assembly WeekClimate Week NYC 2023, and the UN Secretary General’s Climate Ambition Summit. Learn more on the Lewis Pugh Foundation website.

Le Ratoire is a filmmaking collective composed of Léa Lanoë, Pierre Borel (Labo L’argent,Marseille, France), Katherine Bauer, Joyce Lainé, and Loïc Verdillon (Atelier MTK, Grenoble, France). Since 2019, they have elaborated a methodology for collective filmmaking wherein each film is defined by a particular set of parameters; both technical and, especially, situational. Sometimes referring to their practice as “action-filming”, the members of le Ratoire meet to create all aspects and stages of the film in a single go, from filming, processing, and printing to the final edit. The name “Le Ratoire” refers to the verb in french, rater, that means “to miss, fail, or flunk” and laboratoire, indicating the analog hand-made laboratory practices that each film is made with.

“Sediments” is a film conversation of “The River that flows both ways” or Muhheakantuck in Machican (The Hudson River) made from the water and plants with those who live along her shores. They will canoe down the river’s tidal estuary from the Federal Dam in Troy to the mouth of the ocean in NYC. This portion is a unique body of brackish waters with four tides per day, influenced by the ocean. They plan their travels to go with the ebb and flow. Camping along her shores for roughly 3 weeks and filming in 16mm, they will process during the journey with a non-toxic developer made only with plants, wood ash, and sea salt. They will also record sounds and conduct interviews with local people, and give free workshops and screenings along the river. They will harvest the commonly referred to invasive plants, as they are too plentiful and choking out other plant diversity. This can also raise awareness about the different plants existing along the river. They hope that these interactions create a two-way flowing dialogue about life along the river; the flora and fauna as well as the inhabitants of towns, estates and industries; their buildings both abandoned and active.

The process of making a film about the first industrialized river of the United States needs to be a conversation and collaboration with its inhabitants, exploring what it is today and what it carries from the past. They will be using 16mm film (produced in New York, by Kodak) which emerged from the Industrial Revolution using by-products of the industries; steel, coal and cattle; but they are also moving in the opposite direction by processing with only non-industrial products and moving slowly with our own bodies as power. The public events they host will help all of us engage in the river in a new way. “As more people play in or near our waterways, public concern and awareness grow, leading to increased community advocacy.” declares Riverkeeper in their campaigns on how to help the Hudson River.1

This event is a collaboration between the iEAR Presents series with support from RPI’s ARTS department and School of Humanities, Arts and Social Science, and from the New York State Council for the Arts/ NYSCA, with The Sanctuary for Independent Media, and from NEA Our Town “Sanctuary Eco-Art Trail” creative placemaking grant.

In 2024 NATURE Lab will invite La Ratoire return to screen “Sediments” along with their other films. They will also teach a “Plant Processing Workshop”. In this plant processing workshop students will learn how to make a plant- based developer that will develop black and white 16mm film (also works to process 35mm film, still or moving images, or any film emulsion, including photo paper emulsion). This workshop will cover the material history and ingredients of celluloid, what happens during exposure and development, how industrial chemicals were developed over plant based ones and why. Then, we will learn the ingredients in plant developers that can create the same results as the industrially produced ones. We will learn about how to harvest, when to harvest, and the preparation of the tea/extraction in order to achieve the desired results, as well as how to embrace the nature of chance and the destandardization of development. Plant developers are not trying to just mimic their industrial counterparts but are their own wild selves.

Biographies of Le Ratoire Members

Katherine Bauer manipulates celluloid film and the cinematic apparatus encompassing
the practices of moving and still image, installation and live performance. Bauer invokes
mythologies and folklore as told through the means of obsolete technologies fusing them with mineral and vegital communications. She is represented by Microscope Gallery (New York). Her work has been exhibited and screened at; Hybris Festival (Brazil), The Pompidou Center (France), Lausanne Underground Film Festival (Switzerland), Estudio Teorema (Mexico), Shoot the Lobster (Germany); Anthology Film Archives, The Knockdown Center, The Museum of the Moving Image (New York) among others. Bauer received a NYSCA Individual Artist Grant (2023), ESP TV Unit 11 residency (2017), Handmade Film Institute research grant (2016), a Cité Internationale des Arts Paris Residency (2012-13), and a Carla Bruni-Sarkozy Foundation Fellowship (2012-13). She holds a BA in Film Arts from Bard College and a MFA from NYU Steinhardt in Studio Art. She is on the Board of Directors for The Film-Makers Cooperative of New York and a member of the film collectives Optipus (NY), Le Ratoire, and Atelier MTK (France). She also studied herbalism and worked on various medicinal gardens throughout her life. In the Hudson Valley, NY she worked for Good Fight Herb Company, Common Hands Farm, and The Abode. She currently lives and works between New York and France. 

Pierre Borel is a saxophonist, composer and filmmaker, working in the field of improvised and experimental music and experimental cinema. From 2006 to 2017 he was residing in Berlin taking part of the high flow of ongoing creativity that is centered there. He has performed in most European countries, Japan, Russia and USA and is a regular playmate of Joel Grip, Hannes Lingens, Sven-Are Johansson, Christian Lillinger, Axel Dörner, Tobias Delius to name a few. He obtained a master degree at the Jazz Institute in Berlin in 2008, and continues questioning sound and composition through his studies in electro-acoustic music in Marseille. Together with Florian Bergmann and Hannes Lingens, he was running the Umlaut Berlin collective that in recent years released a great number of records and organized four festivals of improvised music. He moved to Marseille in 2017, and co-founded LaboLargent, an artists run organization for experimental filmmakers.

After studying history of art and literature in Paris (Université Paris-Diderot) and Berlin (TU), Léa Lanoë studied at Ecole National Superieur dʼArt in Bourges, working on sound installations and collages. Between 2013 and 2017, she lived in Berlin, performed in the group Vermulscht, and focused more on experimental filmmaking. In her work, she often collaborates with musicians. In 2017, she takes part in the Master degree of Documentary filmmaking in Lussas, France, where she makes her first
documentary film Nul Nʼest Censé, screened in Les États Généraux du film documentaire, Lussas, Le Festival du Court Métrage de Clermont- Ferrand, Festival les inattendus, Lyon, 2019. She now lives in Marseille, where she created with Pierre Borel and other filmmakers LʼArgent, an artists run laboratory for Analog filmmaking, and works more and more with 16mm.

Loïc Verdillon is a musician, performer, and printmaker. Between 2012 and 2019 he composed music for theater pieces by the company “mais ou l’as-tu.” Since 2010, he’s been an active participant of the musical and cinematographic program at Le 102 in Grenoble, France. Currently, his research is focused on sound, its materiality and forms. He built “yotta-phone,” a performance for multiple megaphones, played at different festivals in the summer of 2015. His graphic works focus on the sound shapes of Ernest Chladni in experimental engraving. In 2015, he combined plastic and audio art for the
installation of an “attraction park” made up of dissected loudspeakers, working with the primitive elements of copper, paper, and magnets. Since 2016, he has run and worked at Atelier MTK Independent Cinema Laboratory in Grenoble, France. He has presented Expanded Cinema performances and organized 16mm workshops around the world, in such places as Norway, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, Czech Republic, Belgium, and Indonesia. 

Alongside studies in physics and comparative literature, Joyce Lainé (aka Lucrecia) begins making films through the encounters with people & visions from the NYC film scene (Anthology Film Archives, Microscope Gallery, and Christine Choy). She moves to Grenoble, France and becomes involved in programming at the 102, an alternative venue for experimental film, music and collective organizations. She also joins Atelier MTK and after participating in a research seminar seeking to fabricate the 1903 autochrome color photography process on film, creates a collective performance called “Fecula est-tu là?” (2017) with Clovis LeMaireCardoen, Loic Verdillon, and Etienne Caire. Her first personal film made in France was “40 active warheads” (2016), an adaptation of a poem by Daniel Owens, mixing found and personal footage. Recent works include performances with the Un Ensemble, Etienne Caire, Pavel Viry, and the films within the collective called “Le Ratoire.” Today she continues to work at Atelier MTK.

1 Ingalls Avenue
Troy, New York 12180 United States

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