• Artificial Horizon
    Elizabeth M. Webb

Elizabeth M. Webb, “Artificial Horizon,” 2024/In progress. 16mm film still. Courtesy the artist

Artificial Horizon is a feature-length film that positions historical land surveying as a tool of a Western settler colonial agenda that helped establish and maintain power dynamics and spatial logics of white supremacy. Evolving from this conceptual foundation, the film focuses on the natural and social histories of a tract of former plantation land in eastern Alabama connected to the filmmaker’s family. The film illuminates how plant life defies human-imposed property boundaries and provides liberatory models for how bodies might also subvert similar and related structures of power and control. What can Black Oak teach us about resistance? What can Pine tell us about collectivity? Utilizing 16mm film (nodding to celluloid film as a direct descendent of plant cellulose), the film’s duration–1 hour 13 minutes and 20 seconds or 2,640 feet–corresponds to half the perimeter of a forty-acre parcel and alludes to the United States government’s incomplete promise to African Americans. This film is produced in partnership with Hello Benjamin Films.

Elizabeth M. Webb is an artist and filmmaker whose work is invested in issues surrounding race and identity, often using the lens of her own family history of migration and racial passing to explore larger, systemic constructs and the renegotiation of their borders. She has screened and exhibited in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Ecuador, Singapore, Switzerland, Mexico, Spain, Austria, Norway, and Germany, at venues including Vienna International Film Festival (Viennale), BlackStar Film Festival, and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Webb holds an MFA in film/video and photography/media from California Institute of the Arts and is an alumna of the Whitney Independent Study Program, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the Core Program at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Webb is coeditor of an anthology with Roberta Uno and Daniela Alvarez entitled FUTURE/PRESENT: Arts in a Changing America (Duke University Press, 2024).