Origin of the Species & Slow Action (work in progress)
Date: 26 November - 05 December, 2009
Location: Picture This Atelier, Bristol, UK

close up of moss


  • 1Exhibition at Picture This

Film still from Origin of the Species


Two films by artist Ben Rivers which muse on the ideas of Charles Darwin - one through the field of island biogeography, considering possible future Utopias evolving on isolated islands, the other through the thoughts of a 75-year-old amateur inventor and Darwin enthusiast.

"How come it's like this, how did it get like this? And the thing that'll amaze you - Ben - is, the time; it has taken so very, very long... and some things happen very, very slowly." Origin of the Species

Picture This presents the first opportunity to see a new four-screen work, Slow Action. This film focuses on the relationship we have - and may have in the future - to islands. Ben Rivers' investigation considers the possible future Utopias evolving on isolated islands.

Exquisitely beautiful, poetic and serene, yet exact and rigorous in composition and timing, Origin of the Species is a tentative, fleeting portrait of a man about whom we are told little but learn much: a man of inventions, of science, of solitude; and to whom Darwin's On the Origin of Species is evidently dear. The world is seen as simultaneously familiar and alien; full of wonder and composed of a palette of dream-colours, alternately rich and colour-saturated and steely or tawny.

Opening Times:

Thursday - Saturday


Origin of the Species was commissioned by Film London Artists Moving Image Network.

Slow Action has been commissioned by Picture This and Animate Projects. Supported by Bristol City Council, the British Council and the Daiwa Foundation.

Related Items:

Ben Rivers

The films of Ben Rivers are rich, cinematic portraits that explore wilderness environments and self-contained worlds.

Ben Rivers Artists Talk
25 November 2009, 6.30pm - 8.30pm

Join us at the Atelier for an informal evening with the artist Ben Rivers who will discuss the ideas behind his two films Origin of the Species and