Mined, extracted, and woven, asbestos was for centuries the magic mineral. We now live in the remains of this toxic dream, a dream that with the invention of electron microscopes revealed a disaster in waiting. Yet the asbestos industry has far from left us with extraction from the soil transforming to extraction from our walls. Removal of asbestos is a dangerous and costly operation. So often we choose to live amongst it instead, choking out our walls with plastic tarping: the failed promises of modernity literally entombed all around us. Shot in the mining township of Asbestos, Quebec, home to the world’s largest asbestos mine that only stopped extraction in 2012, Sasha Litvintseva and Graeme Arnfield’sfilm is a meditation on the entanglement of the fragility of human bodies, the nonlinearity of progress, and the persistence of matter.
Asbestos, Sasha Litvintseva, Graeme Arnfield, UK 2016, 20 min