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Terrestrial Act

A collaborative artist film, Terrestrial Act evokes a future-past landscape through the sculptures of six artists. Unfolding within an empty yet grand Victorian theatre, the film considers questions about human interference in the more-than-human world.

Through a dramatic stage set and sculptures, Terrestrial Act considers the history of the romanticisation of nature: framed, reduced and pacified through an anthropocentric and Western perspective. Spotlit scenery comes alive atmospherically on stage, hinting at processes of extractive capitalism. From 3-D printed biodegradable saplings through to an ominously towering life-support machine, the focus shifts between organic and fabricated, past and present, staged and unstaged. Playing with notions of linear and cyclical time, the loose narrative traces the emergence and beginnings of life cycles and their subsequent destruction.

The film’s eerie soundtrack is formed by the artworks themselves, in particular Terrestrial Sound, by Harry Smithson. The electrical sounds of mic’d up Thames clay deceptively evokes birdsong, until the relentless pumping of industrial machinery drowns it out. The film ultimately points to the role played by the human hand in altering the terrestrial terrain around us, and explores what it means to animate supposedly inanimate matter. All the while an empty theatre auditorium looks on, with rows of unpopulated seats hauntingly evoking possible future outcomes for the human species - writing their fate into their own tragedy play.

  • Neena Percy
  • Lizzy Drury
  • Hot Desque
  • Theatre Royal Newcastle
  • Rosie Taylor
  • Lara Sokunbi
    Focus Puller
  • Fran Barker
    Assistant Director
  • Sam Mason
    Sound Designer
  • Philipp Morozov
  • Mitre & Mondays
    Set Fabrication
  • Sam Carvosso
    Artist Collaborator
  • Hannah Rowan
    Artist Collaborator
  • Harry Smithson
    Artist Collaborator
  • Davinia-Ann Robinson
    Artist Collaborator
  • Anna Reading
    Artist Collaborator
  • Giorgio van Meerwijk
    Artist Collaborator
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Sci-fi, Dystopia, artist-film, climate-change
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes 31 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 31, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    15,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, HD
  • Aspect Ratio:
    3840 x 1608
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • NewBridge Project Gallery
    United Kingdom
    November 1, 2021
  • CCA Glasgow, Climate Change Programme
    United Kingdom
    November 13, 2021
  • Thames-Side Studios Gallery
    United Kingdom
    December 1, 2021
  • Lunchtime Gallery
    United Kingdom
    November 3, 2021
Director Biography - Neena Percy, Lizzy Drury

Hot Desque is an artistic partnership between artists Lizzy Drury and Neena Percy. Since being founded in 2018 they have collaborated with over 130 artists and creative practitioners.

Neena Percy:

- MA Painting, Royal College of Art, 2015-17, supported by Ali H. Alkazzi Scholarship
- First Class BA Fine Art, Slade School of Fine Art, London, 2011-15, supported by Painter's Stainer's Company Scholarship

Lizzy Drury:

- MA Painting, Royal College of Art 2015-2017
- Drawing and Applied Arts, University of the West of England 2011-2014
- Represented by Akara Art, Mumbai

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Director Statement

Hot Desque's work spans artist films, as well as site-specific installations, set and prop design, writing and workshops. Interested in sci-fi world-building and deep ecology, their work plays with the tropes of theatre to create mise-en-scènes through collaborations with other artists. Evolving over multiple sagas last year, their most recent experimental film ‘Terrestrial Act’ examined human interference in the cycles of the natural world.