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CLOSE-UP: UNMOORED FUTURE

Still from Rosa Barba’s Outwardly from Earth’s Center, 2007, 16 mm transferred to video, color and black-and-white, sound, 22 minutes.

IN ROSA BARBA’S enigmatic twenty-two-minute film Outwardly from Earth’s Center (2007), the inhabi­tants of a remote Swedish island in the Baltic Sea attempt to halt their home’s steady drift northward. The all-but-inevitable collision with the mainland at some indeterminate point in the future will be catastrophic indeed, yet there will be nothing sudden or unexpected about it. As the island’s archivist—one of a number of “experts” appearing in the film—asserts, the earliest mentions of the island’s drift can be traced to the 1630s.

Like many of Barba’s longer films, and in contrast to her more conceptual projector sculptures and wall works, Outwardly from Earth’s Center conveys a sense of looming crisis, which is underscored by a foreboding electronic sound track (by Folke Rabe and Jan St. Werner). While the communities in Outwardly from Earth’s Center and The Empirical

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