Penny Siopis – She Breathes Water

<p><em>She Breathes Water</em> is a montage of vintage found film, text and sound – the latter a recording of ice cracking, inflected every now and then with refrains of Schubert’s <em>Ave Maria</em>. A story emerges. It reads like a fable, parable, or outmoded science fiction. There is a lunar landscape. The first moon landing? Then a flash as a spear speeds underwater. A splash, and a man surfaces. He sports the spear and has a fish in hand. A woman swims. Her head above water. She castigates someone out of view. The text in her frame suggests she is angry with human history. There are scenes of industry, oil, water, mud, mutants, animals, trees, the weather, men wrestling various forces. Emissions, explosions, extractions, extinctions. There is sacrifice. What’s to be done? ‘A strange kind’ under the sea offers her ink, with a question, ‘can you write a history not all about your might?’ A man exits the frame.</p>