SIGHT UNSEEN & Red Room Presents

RHYTHM OF THE COSMOS: Works by Fern Silva 

“Do you know what the secret to life is… this… one thing, just one thing…” -Curly Washburn

Subtle, spectacular cinema in which cosmopolitan filmmaker Fern Silva creates a convincing, eclectic hotpot from various images. The fruits of life desiccate in front of our very eyes in a civilization out of step with the rhythm of the cosmos. –International Film Festival Rotterdam

68mins (16mm, video)

Scales in the Spectrum of Space 2015, 7mins
Commissioned by the Chicago Film Archive and in collaboration with jazz musician Phil Cohran, Scales in the Spectrum of Space explores the documented histories of urban life and architecture in Chicago. Culled from 70hrs of footage and incorporating 30 different films, Scales weighs in on the pulse of the Midwest metropolis.

In the Absence of Light, Darkness Prevails 2010, 13mins
In the Absence of Light, Darkness Prevails (2010) suggests a future already arrived, merging the destruction with the creation of life as seen in the tiny turtles crawling their way to the sea, or heard in the crackling of a Geiger counter as a masked man sprays plants with pesticides. Though only 13 minutes, the film’s span is enormous. As revelers in Salvador, Bahia, parade through the streets, a gnat-sized Mercury passes across the surface of the sun, and men slowly make their way up the giant steps of an ancient temple; the film resides in a well of deep time, civilizational history swallowed by the life of the planet. –Genevieve Yue

Passage Upon the Plume 2011, 7mins

Plumes dust the arid land, east to west, shapeshifting
as they lift in ascension. Something lowers. An ark
ran aground where revolution took root: ropes raise
stones in baskets. Hearts heavier and lighter than the
feather, permitted passage. Tethered or freed, resting
from life or dawning anew. –
— Charity Coleman

Concrete Parlay 2012, 18mins
Carried by the frenetic energy of a magic carpet, Concrete Parlay is a metaphysical flight that weaves among visual kernels of the anthropic and biological worlds. From prehistoric horseshoe crabs strewn among modern refuse, stoic pyramids foregrounded by golf course maintenance, mystic rituals evoking avian gestures, to contemporary political upheaval equalized by natural phenomena—the poetic equivalence among images transcends particular umwelten, as the disorienting whirl of the compass connotes the kinetic nature of existence. — Aily Nash

Tender Feet 2013, 10mins
Tender Feet was shot on the road in the southwest leading up to the not quite so cataclysmic and transformative events anticipated to take place around Dec. 21st 2012. As digits flipped on the odometer, so did the days in the Mayan calendar shedding light and darkness on charred forests, arid landscapes, falling stars, destructive vortexes, fortune telling traffic signs, and ticking time bombs…

Wayward Fronds 2014, 13mins
Wayward Fronds references a series of historical events that helped shape the Florida Everglades today, while fictionalizing its geological future and its effects on both native and exotic inhabitants. Guided by recent talks in the Florida legislature to finally disburse billions of dollars in restoration funds, events in this film unfold by giving way to a future eco-flourished Everglades. Nature begins to take over, engulfs and tames civilization after centuries of attack, and even guides it into its mysterious aqueous depths, forcing humans to adapt and evolve to its surroundings.



Fern Silva (b. 1982, USA/Portugal) uses moving image to produce a sonic and cinematographic language for the hybrid mythologies of globalism. His films consider methods of narrative, ethnographic, and documentary filmmaking as the starting point for structural experimentation. He has created a body of film, video, and projection work that has been screened and performed at various festivals, galleries, museums and cinematheques including the Media City, Toronto, Berlin, Locarno, Rotterdam, New York, London, Edinburgh, and Hong Kong International Film Festivals, Anthology Film Archive, Gene Siskel Film Center, Cinemateca Boliviana, Museum of Art Lima, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Museum of Modern Art P.S.1, and Cinema du Reel at the Centre Georges Pompidou. He has curated film screenings at venues including the Nightingale Cinema, Gallery 400, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. He was listed as one of the Top 25 Filmmakers for the 21st Century in Film Comment Magazine’s Avant-Garde Filmmakers Poll, is the recipient of the Gus Van Sant Award from the 49th Ann Arbor Film Festival as well as grand prizes from the 2015 Curtas Belo Horizonte and 25FPS Film Festivals. He studied art and cinema at the Massachusetts College of Art and Bard College. He teaches moving image at Bennington College and is based in Brooklyn, NY.

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The Red Room is a volunteer-run space in Baltimore dedicated to mind-expanding experimental culture, headquartered at Normals Books and Records.