Deep Time Letters
Deep Time Letters runs alongside Shezad Dawood’s research for the eighth episode of his ten-part film, Leviathan. Assembled over the course of five years, Leviathan exists in an unfathomable kaleidoscope of the intra-actions, interdependencies, and entanglements constantly at play within the microcosms that collectively form our precariously balanced planetary biome. His expansive research, involving collaborations with scientists, philosophers, and activists, reaches into the past to speculate on possible futures. Positioning a plurality and multiplicity of voices, at the core of the project is a critical and urgent gesture to illuminate the complex connections between ecosystems, localities, and individual lives.
For the Dissolving Earths programme, Shezad unfolds parallel and interconnected conversations with ecologist Nikita Zimov and Buryat shaman and ethnologist Galina Makhachkeevа. Through a series of handwritten letters, their conversations take a slow and intimate form. Reaching out across thousands of miles between the correspondents, the letters travel between vastly different landscapes and life experiences, yet find commonality in the care for the future of our shared planet.
With one worldview embedded in the scientific and the other in the spiritual, the works of Nikita and Galina emerge from very different positions. Yet both are absorbed in an active allegiance with the ecologies of the landscape they live within: the past entangled with the necessity of nurturing collaborative relationships to holistically care for future human and non-human generations.
Both Shezad and Nikita are fathers to three daughters, and in his opening letter Shezad reaches out in parental solidarity, addressing the complexity of navigating possibilities of action and agency. Galina shares with Shezad her spiritual worldview which is embedded in deep reverence for the environment of the Baikal region. The letters between the three correspondents offer a glimpse into the fabric of global interactions and their effects on these remote and precarious landscapes.
The correspondence abruptly ended when the war broke out; routes of communication severed.
Shezad Dawood is a London-based artist. He works across the disciplines of painting, film, neon, sculpture, performance, virtual reality, and other digital media to ask key questions of narrative, history, and embodiment. Using the editing process as a method to explore both meanings and forms, his practice often involves collaboration and knowledge exchange, mapping across multiple audiences and communities. Through a fascination with the esoteric, otherness, the environment, and architectures both material and virtual, Dawood interweaves stories, realities, and symbolism to create richly layered artworks.