Online catalogue / Sofie Thorsen :

The Achromatic Island
The Achromatic Island
AT / DK / 2010
15 min.

Tableau-esque, heavily abstracted images in black-and-white describe an island landscape that is given no greater definition: Fields, woods, a quarry, an industrial complex, agricultural buildings, and transportation architecture. The camera’s extensive takes focus on details until the pictorial level tips to become panoramic, revealing a landscape of gentle hills on the horizon. In their reduction and abstraction, the shots resemble the aesthetics of black-and-white drawings—a medium whose descriptive quality Thorsen continually makes use of in her artistic work.
A voice-over outlines how those afflicted with achromatopsia see: a viewing in gradations of gray, in which color is a hint of shadings, based on the tales of those who see color—combined with extreme light sensitivity and profound visual blurriness. Until the middle of the last century, this special, inherited form of color blindness surfaced frequently on the Danish island Fur until the island was opened to the outside world by global changes in structural conditions.
Sofie Thorsen transforms the achromatic way of seeing into cinematic subjects: overexposure, close-ups, and zooms cause blurs in the field of vision, hazy borders, and the dissolution of images into individual dots. The gleam of the sun, which is reproduced by the overexposed views, calms at the end of the film in images of nocturnal darkness.

The Achromatic Island is a cinematic essay that takes the specific topography of the island Fur as starting point for a media-reflective confrontation with the normalization of seeing, and in doing so, inquires into the figures of mediation through technical apparatuses. (Christina Nägele, Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt)

The black and white landscape is first undefined and dissolves in gleaming brightness into something unrecognizable. What seems like image interference turns out to be an approach to a rare vision disorder: achromatopsia, the inability to perceive color and visual acuity at high light levels. How can you show what cannot be expressed? The Achromatic Island is a film on seeing and on the limits of language.

A film by:
- Sofie Thorsen

- Essay

original language:
- english

Available Prints:

price: 60 EUR


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more on Austrian Independent Film & Video Database:
- Credits
- Festival placements
- Texte und Bilder
- Biographie: Sofie Thorsen