Jem Cohen’s newest film project is a documentary-based, interdisciplinary hybrid built from footage he gathered in Nova Scotia over the past decade, coupled with live music and texts ranging from poems and folklore to mundane local newspaper fragments to scientific research. As an artist who has explored and deplored the disappearance of regional character brought on by corporate-driven homogeneity, the discovery of Cape Breton was a revelation for Jem, who describes it as a place as beautiful as any he has ever seen throughout his travels, but one that remains elusive and deeply “itself.”
This commissioned project, premiering at EMPAC and featuring such stellar musicians as Guy Picciotto (Fugazi), T. Griffin, Jim White (Dirty Three), Jessica Moss (Silver Mt. Zion), and Sophie Trudeau (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, SMZ), will be a visual and sonic exploration that primarily exists as a visceral evocation of place, and for someone known primarily as an urban filmmaker, a rare foray into intensive engagement with the natural landscape.