Oceans 5

Ana Valine

Oceans 5
8′ x 12′ steel screen
16mm celluloid projection loop
seaweed and ocean water developer and fixative
2 digital projection loops


When the pandemic hit and the school closed down, I couldn’t get into the darkroom so I turned towards filmmaking with the natural world, both as solace and to be creatively autonomous. What I discovered was that the ocean is a generous and unpredictable collaborator. 

Eco-processing falls under the umbrella of experimental filmmaking. It involves developing film with non-chemical ingredients that can be found in our gardens and kitchens and natural spaces. 

In my eco-processing filmmaking practice, I am collaborating with the sea and making 16mm films of waves as the water rolls up onto land. These films are oceanic self-portraits: the sea makes its own image. By that, I mean the elements we see in the frame are the ingredients that develop the film. I open the camera to the waves and the ocean supplies seaweed and salt water that become the ingredients for developing the rolls of celluloid. 

What the sea brings forward is unexpected and liberating. Depending on the weather, filming at the shoreline can be exhilarating and/or soothing, calming, and grounding. Either way, it’s an emergent and embodied method of making in the midst of a global crisis and isolation. The shoreline is a place where I feel a part of things, what Romain Rolland termed ‘the oceanic feeling’.