SEMANTICA is a series of short experimental films by Jemma Foster and Camilla French exhibited in an interactive environment exploring interspecies communication and non-linear linguistics through the elements.
Xibalba-Roots is the first two (Water and Earth) of five (Fire, Air, Aether) Xibalba looks at the intelligence of organic matter, panspermia and universal consciousness through the Mayan underworld and cenotes of Mexico. Roots takes us on a journey through Tikuna cosmologies in the Colombian Amazon and questions the biological and mysterious architectures of creation, our origins and our future.
XIBALBA is a short experimental film exploring the intelligence of organic matter, panspermia and the relationship between homo sapiens and the Other through Mayan myth and ritual and the underworld labyrinth Xibalba.
A microbial presence travels from the furthest reaches of our solar system, entering Earth’s atmosphere as the meteorite responsible for ending the dinosaur era. Whilst its arrival causes great destruction, it also heralds new life forms and a new level of consciousness that will transform and shape life on Earth, seeding the potential for human life. The cenotes (water-filled sinkholes) formed from limestone erosion, are representative of this cataclysmic event and the literal erosion of time. The cenotes were seen by Maya as portals to the underworld, Xibalba.
A Mayan girl performs a bloodletting ceremony, assisted by entheogens, to appease the water god and envisions a future where drought prevails on Earth. Her blood merges its own unique intelligence with the water, creating a quantum entanglement that binds the three characters. A futuristic presence, a sophisticated being that is part-organism-part-AI, searches for its microbial origins in order to seed new life and liberate a desiccated land.
The soundtrack is composed by Oli Bayston using a combination of entheogenic (psychoactive)plant frequencies, including psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and Banisteriopsis caapi (ayahuasca vine).
ROOTS is a short experimental film that explores Amazonian cosmologies, person-plant relations and ecopsychology via the Tikuna creation myth. The myth describes the Ceiba pentandra tree being felled by twins Yoi and Ipi to bring light and life to the world. They later create the first humans from the huito fruit (Genipa Americana)
Recordings of the Ceiba in the Amazon rainforest were taken using a device that measures biodata - electromagnetic fluctuations between the leaves of plants - and converts them into MIDI (Music Instrument Digital Interface) code. Sound designer Imka then analysed the recording as being in the tone of A minor. Using this scale, he added a compilation of real and virtual instruments to create the soundscape for the track, along with handmade automation for pressure, pitch slide, attack, release, sustain, along with other devices to control the notes being printed in real time.
This was then integrated with the audio recordings of Abel Santos, narrating the Tikuna myth of the Genipa Americana. Abel’s wish is for this track to preserve the knowledge of the elders and to encourage younger Tikuna to learn their ancestral language. The result is a new musical language that transcends species boundaries and honours shared person-plant origins. The animation is a 3D render created by Imka using plant-based extensions to convey a representation of the shared life force - known in Tikuna as du-ügü - of people and plants: huito fruit and human heart.
SEMANTICA is currently exhibiting at Festival de la Imagen in Manizales, Colombia.
Semantica Productions is the film studio of Wild Alchemy Lab: www.semanticaproductions.com