Over the weekend of October 28, 29 and 30th, we showed a presentation of Under Erasure by Sabine Groenewegen. For her presentation, Sabine makes full use of our exhibition space to share a journey through work from her ongoing research project, which was partly developed in the context of her 1646 residency early 2021.
During this working period, Sabine developed a body of work prompted by her discovery of the unexplained removal of scenes from a 1930’s Dutch film set on a colonial rubber plantation in Sumatra. Her investigation into the unexplained omission of a particular female character from the only distribution print of the film, opened up to larger questions around historical silences related to women and profit models within the system of rubber production in the early 20th century.
Since her residency, Sabine continued her work by delving into various archives to interrogate Dutch narratives which shaped fantasies and erased reality around colonial extractivism. Her installation and video projections at 1646 drop traces among trees and other witnesses in order to connect the dots between intimate histories connected to the flow of rubber.
“Tupi-speaking Amazonians named the tree which oozes milky fluid when damaged “cahuchu,” meaning “wood that weeps.” In solid form it enabled removal of pencil writing by making a rubbing motion, owing the name “rubber” to its erasing capacity. The seeds of the tree were smuggled to Southeast Asia, where old forest communication networks were destroyed to make way for plantations harboring silences which would linger for generations. Filmmakers passed by and revealed themselves through the images they produced. A fictional female character was fabricated, then removed, leaving behind the sliced film print as a material witness.”