THE OBITUARY PROJECT

American artist Hope Tucker reframes the passing of sites, people, communities, freedoms, cultural markers, rituals, and ways of being. Since 2000, as director of The Obituary Project, a compendium of works that transform a daily narrative form and the antiquated documentary practice of salvage ethnography, she has documented shuttered bread factories, contested monuments, and fallen witness trees; animated cyanotypes of downwinders and old instructions for making fishing nets by hand; written the entire text of a video out of paper clips, a Norwegian symbol of nonviolent resistance; retraced the path of protest that closed the only nuclear power plant in Austria; recorded mobile phone footage of the last public phone booths in Finland; and preserved reckonings made by travelers to the site of the first detonation of an atomic bomb. 


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Handful of Dust

9 minutes
2.35:1
US
2013

Prussian blue can be used to render images and counteract radiation poisoning. This obituary is composed of sequences of hundreds of cyanotypes, exposed in the sand using paper sensitized with handmade emulsion and negatives from a 1954 American film shot in Cinemascope. Rates of cancer in the film's cast and crew reflect that it was shot downwind during the period of above ground nuclear testing. Handful of Dust, produced in the Utah canyon where the 1954 film was shot, is designed as an antidote to recover the memory of the downwinders.


Handful of Dust premiered –as one of six short films in the official selection—at Punto de Vista, Festival Internacional de Cine Documental de Navarra, Spain (2013). It was awarded First Prize at Iowa City Docs, US (2014) and a Jury Award at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, US (2013). Additional screenings include: 25FPS, Zagreb, Croatia (2014); Ann Arbor Film Festival, US (2014); Anthology Film Archive (2014); Antimatter Festival, Victoria, BC, Canada (2013); Cairo Video Fest, Egypt (2014); Deluge Contemporary Art, Victoria, BC (2014); European Media Art Festival, Osnabrück, Germany (2014); Experiments in Cinema, Albuquerque, New Mexico (2019); Flatpack Festival, Birmingham, England (2014); FLEX, Gainesville, US and touring program: Braquage, Paris, France; Kino.Lab, Center for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, Poland; Yeşilçam Sinemasi, Istanbul, Turkey (2015); International Film Festival Rotterdam, NL (2014); Lima Independiente Festival Internacional de Cine, Peru (2014); Minneapolis International Film Festival, US (2014); Strange Beauty, Durham, US (2014); Une (h)antologie de l'Anthropocène, Les Abattoirs, Toulouse (2014); Views from the Avant-Garde at the New York Film Festival, US (2013).