Antarctic Traces

Director: Michaela Grill

Austria,Canada, 2019



Approaching the mysterious realm via the few traces that are currently available. Concurrently, revolving around the desolation that humans have left in their treatment of it. Grill devotes herself to two tasks in Antarctic Traces, a splendid, thoroughly composed study of the most mysterious of all continents, or rather, the supplements of it that are accessible. First, there is the rough landscape of the coast of South Georgia, a group of islands located at Antarctica, which were examined in still frames. Another is the archive images for the thematic focus of the film, the history of whaling since 19th century, is historically embedded. And there is also a narrative elaborately woven from numerous literary sources, spoken off-screen and interlaced with subtle sound inserts, that allows this highly abject episode in humanity´s exploitation of nature to become present: the industrial slaughter of seals, sea elephants, and primary whales until into the 1970s, which took its brutal course in the waters of the south Atlantic. In an alternating rhythm of still images, minimally moving pictures, and individual camera pans, Antarctic Traces divulges a mosaic of a „dead, chilly world“: glaciers, skeletons, industrial ruins, and rusted ships bear witness to the uncompromising eagerness for the power of the „whaling industry.“ Antarctic Traces creates a disturbing portrait of a deadly peace that humans have caused in a remote areas of the earth and seas.

Director’s Bio

Studied in Vienna, Glasgow, and Goldsmith College, London. Various film and video works, installations, and live visuals since 1999. Performances and screenings at MOMA NY, National Gallery of Art Washington, Centre Pompidou Paris, Museo Reina Sofia Madrid, La Casa Encendida Barcelona, ICA London, and many cinematheques. Her videos were screened at over 200 festivals worldwide. Received the Outstanding Artist Award by the Austrian Ministry of Art & Culture in 2010.


Camera: Michaela Grill

Editor: Michaela Grill

Sound: Steve Bates

Music: Nick Kuepfer

Producer: Michaela Grill