The Warming Plateau [film]

16mm to 2K transfer, stereo sound, colour/black & white, 12’00”

The Warming Plateau was recorded on Tobago, an island unique among the former British West Indies in that much of its West African heritage survived the obliterating effects of slavery and exists in vibrant tradition long into the present day.

One segment of the film recalls the legend of Gang Gang Sarah, the ‘African slave witch’ who, wishing to return to her homeland, climbed the sacred Silk Cotton tree and tried to fly, not realizing she had lost her powers during her stay on the island. 

The other segment of the film shows four men cutting their way through the jungle, making measurements, calling out to each other, working on something that comes into focus as a kind of land claim or marking of territory. The film as a whole is a portrait of the island as a sentient being, showing sites of past and present exploitation.

Stills and excerpt courtesy the artist and Andréhn-Schiptjenko.