Online Film Screening
Somerset House Studios

Earth Day: Sharna Pax Film Screening

Thu 22 Apr, 18.30
available until Sun 25 Apr
Online Film Screening

Film collective Sharna Pax programme an online screening of three short films on the occasion of Earth Day.

Film collective Sharna Pax (Studios resident Maeve Brennan, Tinne Zenner and Therese Henningsen) present Word for Forest (2018) by Pia Rönicke, Kevin Jerome Everson's Cardinal (2019), and Die Donau Rauf (1969) by Peter Nestler and Zsóka Nestler for Somerset House's Earth Day programme; each film attentively observing a different environment - forest, sky, and river.

‘Finden, Zeigen, Halten (finding, showing, holding): like an archaeologist patiently and meticulously digging into the soil of material life, uncovering and preserving traces of histories that continue to haunt the present’

Hartmut Bitomsky on Peter Nestler

Word for Forest registers the movement of a seed from the Botanical Gardens in Copenhagen back to its original home in the Mexican Oaxaca mountains; Cardinal observes birdwatchers looking for the state bird of Ohio and Die Donau Rauf traces the layered histories of the Danube. Engaging with the inhabitants of these places - people, plants, birds and boats - the films offer subtle and nuanced encounters with complex histories marked by colonialism.

Sharna Pax's online film programme marks the 51st year of Earth Day, an annual global event on 22 April to champion transformative environmental awareness and action, as part of Somerset House's year-round commitment to environmental sustainability. 


Word for Forest – Pia Rönicke

Denmark/Mexico, 2018, 16 mm/stereo, colour and b&w, 23 min.

Word for Forest is a cinematic journey that travels from the Botanical Garden in Copenhagen to Santiago Comaltepec in the mountains of Oaxaca. The film records a seed’s displacement from Mexico, where it was collected by the botanist Frederik Liebmann in 1842, to the Botanical Garden in Copenhagen. The film returns to the plant’s original home, the unique habitat of the cloud forest. The cloud forest in this region has an exceptionally high biodiversity, where specific oaks and pines grow side by side with a rich plant life that is not found anywhere else.

In Santiago Comaltepec, a community belonging to the forest, has not always had the right to care of the land. Both the Spanish colonial empire and the Mexican state have previously demanded control over the forest. In the 1980s, the community fought for the forest’s rights. Through ‘comunalidad’, the forest became common land and only the naturally fallen wood can be collected. The film follows the voice of the forest guide Don Felipe, as he talks about the forest in both the local language Chinantec and Spanish. It invites one to listen to the rhythms of the language and the sounds of the forest and to absorb the variations in the many ferns. It beckons the view to enter a universe that might show an alternative to the path of destruction that we are currently on.

Pia Rönicke is an artist based in Copenhagen. In recent years, she has been investigating different botanical collections that show traces of colonial and geopolitical conditions. Her work is concerned with problems of space and spatial transformations. She is interested in the connection between work space and filmic space, and how we conceive historical matters in relationship to our daily activities. Rönicke often works with archives and the practice of collecting is a recurring theme in her artworks. Her artistic practice spans film, prints, sculptures, and objects, which together build narratives.

Cardinal - Kevin Jerome Everson

US, 2019, 16mm transferred to digital, 2:30, b&w, sound, no dialogue.
Film courtesy the artist; trilobite-arts DAC; Picture Palace Pictures.

Cardinal observes birdwatchers looking for the state bird of Ohio. With Taj Torrence, Matilda Washington, Serra Everson, Derron Everson, Jacienta McSwain.

Kevin Jerome Everson (b.1965, Mansfield, Ohio US) MFA, Ohio University; BFA,University of Akron. Everson is Professor of Art at the University of Virginia,Charlottesville and is the recipient of the Guggenheim, the 2020 Berlin Prize, the 2019 Heinz Award in Art and Humanities and the 2012 Alpert Award for Film/Video. His films – 11 features and over 200 shorts to date - have been the subject of solo exhibitions and mid-career retrospectives at Tate Modern/Film; Harvard Film Archive; Modern and Contemporary Art Museum, Seoul; Cinema du Reel; SECCA; The Whitney Museum of American Art and Centre Pompidou and included in the 2008, 2012 and 2017 Whitney Biennial, the 2013 Sharjah Biennial and the 2018 Carnegie International.

Die Donau Rauf - Peter Nestler and Zsóka Nestler

West Germany, 1969, 16mm, colour, 28 min.

A critical look at the political and cultural history of the Danube country and its development; a travelogue. Travelling the Danube by steamboat, Die Donau Rauf unearths layered narratives of the ancient and the recent past creating a poetic document of filmed archaeology.

Peter Nestler was born in Breisgau, Germany in 1937. His films initially recorded the changes affecting rural and industrial communities in the early 1960s. Since then, he has developed a politically and aesthetically uncompromising body of work in which history, the working class, labor and production, immigration, the environment, and the struggle against fascism have been recurring themes. 

Zsóka Nestler was born in Budapest in 1944. Betweeen 1967 and 1978 she worked with Peter on 24 documentaries on 16mm, mostly as a team of two. Peter ran the camera and Zsóka recorded the sound. Later she studied and worked in the cities of Stockholm and Uppsala (receiving a Bachelors Degree in Behavioral Research/Cross-cultural Relations and Immigrant Issues, and a Graduate Diploma in Psychotherapy). She has contributed to many research projects and publications on immigration and refugees, racism and ethnic conflicts and has worked in governmental institutions and NGOs. She returned to making films with Peter in 1992 on 'Zeit' and in 2003 on 'Mit der Musik groß werden'.

About Sharna Pax

Sharna Pax is a film collective (Maeve Brennan, Therese Henningsen and Tinne Zenner) working between the fields of anthropology, documentary, and visual art. They work independently as artists and filmmakers and collaboratively organise screenings and discussions as part of their ongoing dialogue.

Previous projects include Knotted Fields (Part I, II and III), a series of film screenings concerned with shifting material and industrial landscapes, and the relationship between land and those passing through it, screened at Cinemateket, Copenhagen; Filmstationen, Copenhagen and Close-up Cinema, London (2016) and How to Work Together (2015), a screening and publication focusing on collaboration in film, commissioned by Studio Voltaire, Chisenhale Gallery and The Showroom, London.