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Moving Image

Elise Guillaume

Elise Guillaume (1996) is a Belgian artist and filmmaker whose work explores our complex relationship with nature. The body is a key element in her work – it becomes a vessel for interpreting and embodying living and non-living beings that form our natural world. Elise's work has been selected for awards worldwide, including the Aesthetica Art Prize (currently shortlisted), Arte Laguna Art Prize (2022 finalist and Art Nova 100 winner) and the La Scam Experimental Work Award (2022 preselected). In 2019, she had two solo exhibitions in Brussels and London. She’s taken part in residencies in the Atacama Desert, Finland and has been awarded a place to join the Arctic Circle residency program in 2023. Her works have been featured in festivals such as KIKK Festival, VIDEOFORMES and Alchemy Film & Arts Festival. Upcoming exhibitions this summer include the Aesthetica Art Prize at the York Art Gallery and Symbiocène in Arles, coinciding with Les Rencontres de la Photographie.

For RCA2022, Elise is presenting her latest film, Where I Learn to Breathe, alongside a body of multi-media works addressing themes at the intersection of feminism and ecology.

Our relationship to the earth reflects how we treat ourselves and each other. Through filmmaking, photography and installation, I seek to understand what it means to be human in a time of crisis and extinction.

The first stages of my work happen outdoors, often in remote environments. During this period of research, I make use of analogue photography for its slower process, which allows me to sense ecosystems on a deeper level.

Working ecologically, both conceptually and practically, is important to me. I've recently been developing negatives with my own plant-based developer using seaweed as an alternative to chemical substances.

As someone interested in the connections within our world, I’m inspired by how technology can help us gain new perspectives on our complex relationship with the earth. The use of multiple screens, ultra-macro lenses and alternative sound recording devices allow me to create narratives that aim to challenge anthropocentric norms of nature.

The body is a key element in my work: I use it as a vessel for interpreting and embodying living beings that form our world. With this in mind, the body becomes a meeting point between viewer and subject matter to encourage discourse regarding multi-species kinship.

Since making Where I Learn to Breathe, I've developed an interest in the healing potential of making confessional works. I'm passionate about how personal narratives can expand into more political discussions surrounding feminism and ecology.

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Below is a trailer of Where I Learn to Breathe. The full preview is available on request.

Through a confessional letter to a loved one, the lasting impacts of a mental illness on female fertility unfolds. As the fluidity of water and the body intertwine, the protagonist takes us on a journey towards healing as she enters into symbiosis with nature.

Where I Learn to Breathe (Trailer) Directed by Elise Guillaume. Produced by Elise Guillaume & Chloe Abrahams. DoP: John Janssens. Sound, Editing & Narration: Elise Guillaume. Voice Over Recording: Jeremy Chen. Sound Mix: Luis Trinques.
"Where I Learn to Breathe" installation view RCA2022, Royal College of Art, 2022
"I Try To Keep Flowing With The Currents" C-Type Print available to purchase framed via shopify. Developed using seaweed as an alternative to chemical developer. Photography taken while location scouting for "Where I Learn to Breathe".
Detail of "Where I Learn to Breathe" installation view RCA2022
Where I Learn to Breathe: artifact 51.364542, 3.367316. Framed Polaroid. Available on shopify.These Polaroids act as artifacts of the research process that lead to the creation of "Where I Learn to Breathe".
Where I Learn to Breathe: artifact 51.36333565438345, 3.3731487553688604. Framed Polaroid. Available on shopify.