Private Project

Becoming Arctic

A lone, phantom camofleur loiters and drifts in a formidable Arctic landscape. In slow, brooding gestures that swing from comedy to tragedy, comprehension remains conspicuously undetermined. The optical trickster debuts as seemingly displaced, gradually merges into the background. In this mesmerizing disruption of reality we embark on a psychological and morphological journey of renegotiating the self in relation to the environment.

  • Robert Platt
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Genres:
    Sci-Fi, Tragedy
  • Runtime:
    25 minutes 33 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 7, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Austin Arthouse film festival
    Austin, Texas
    United States
    December 26, 2020
  • Roma Short Film Festival
    January 16, 2021
  • New Wave Short Film Festival
    November 30, 2020
  • Montreal Independant Film Festival
    October 5, 2020
Director Biography - Robert Platt

Robert Platt
Associate Professor, Penny W. Stamps
School of Art & Design, The University of Michigan
Associate Director The Center for Japanese Studies,
University of Michigan
Personal Website:

PhD -Painting, Kyoto City University of Arts, 2010
MA – Painting, The Royal College of Art. 2001
BA (Hons)- Fine Art, Nottingham Trent University of Art & Design, 1996

Interdisciplinary artist Robert Platt received his BA in Fine Art from Nottingham Trent University and an MA in Painting from The Royal College Of Art, London, UK. In 2009 he gained a Practice-Based Ph.D. in Contemporary Art Practice (Painting) from Kyoto City University of Arts, Kyoto, Japan. In 2011 he relocated to Michigan where he holds the position of Associate Professor of Art in addition to Associate Director for The University of Michigan Center For Japanese Studies. Platt’s varied art practice has been written about in Art in America, and Frieze magazine. He has been participated in residencies and research trips to India, Japan, Europe and has participated in two Arctic expeditions. He regularly exhibits his artwork both nationally and internationally with recent solo exhibitions in Japan, Ireland, South Korea and New York. Group exhibition highlights include A Rose is Rose, The Butcher’s Daughter, NYC, and Displacements, Renmin University, Beijing, China. His works are included in the public collections of Toyota, and Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo collection.

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Director Statement

In an age where ideas of position, territorialism, and mastery are dramatically failing in the face of larger cultural, ecological, and global systems, Becoming Arctic, Platt's debut short, disrupts the boundaries between self and environment. In monochromatic, slow motion, this experimental film explores the possibility of deterritorializing the human-centered position through successively destabilizing potentially dangerous figure/ground relations and the Cartesian activity of ‘picturing’ the world as distinct from one’s own body. The playful, neo-Situationist improvisations in Becoming Arctic places the lone spectator as the setting. This spatial collapse challenges the contemporary understanding of human subjectivity and perturbs the attempt of the subject to infiltrate and master the surrounding environment. The atavistic lure of control is gradually usurped by an incremental unfolding and resistance to territorial aptitudes and shifts precariously toward a nomadic and fluid experience of identity as constituted through environment. The de-identified protagonist merges into the background in a psychological and morphological process of renegotiating the self in relation to external visual grounds.