Akeroyd Collection


Rei Hayama, A Child Goes Burying Dead Insects, 2009

A Child Goes Burying Dead Insects concerns death, ritual, and the lamenting of things lost. While this early work shows the emergent concerns of the Anthropocene, by looping a sequence of a young girl burying dead insects in a forest, it also works as a poetic and powerful allegory where we are to consider the death of film as well. Hayama notes how the burying of dead insects was just one of the ceremonies she developed as a child, which functioned for her to find a sense of order in a chaotic world. In the film, however, we see this ritual repeated over and over, and each time, the film stock is degraded through exposure and manipulation until the deterioration of the image drains all colour from the screen. The cycle becomes more abstract and illegible as the film progresses. This, in a poetically self-reflective way, articulates the film's demise and offers the making of the work as a ritual of commemoration. The Single-8 film, a standard developed by Fujifilm in 1960 for home movies and consumer use, was discontinued in 2007. A Child Goes Burying Dead Insects both laments and celebrates the unique politics of vision that celluloid enabled in both a momentous and elegiac manner. This work places the cycle of life and death, nature and ritual in the materiality of the film itself, suggestive of a blurred line between animals and humans, man and technology. A rejection of an Anthropocentric dominance in favour of a worldview that posits everything is materially connected.

Medium8mm transferred to SD video
Duration11 minutes 1 second
Editionof 5