Constant is a journey through the social and political histories of measurement. For most of recorded history, the human body was the measure of all things. Constant asks what led measurement to depart from the body and become a science unto itself. The film explores three shifts in the history of measurement standardisation, from the land surveying that drove Early Modern European land privatisation, to the French Revolution that drove the Metric Revolution, to the conceptual dematerialisation of measurement in the contemporary era of Big Science. Each chapter traces the relationship of measurement standardisation to ideas of egalitarianism, agency, justice, and power. Cinematic and technical images that begin as products of measurement systems are stretched beyond their functions to describe the resistance of lived experience to symbolic abstractions.
Sasha Litvintseva and Beny Wagner, Constant, 2022
HD video, 40:00 minutes
6–27 November 2023
© the artists
About the artists:
Sasha Litvintseva and Beny Wagner are artists, filmmakers and writers. They’ve been working collaboratively in moving image, installation, text and lectures since 2018. Focusing on moving image as a tool for the active production of new worlds, their practice has been driven by questions about the thresholds between the body and its surroundings, knowledge regimes and power, modes of organising and perceiving the natural world. Their collaborative work has been presented globally, including at the Berlinale, Rotterdam, CPH:DOX, Courtisane, EXiS Seoul film festivals, Tate Modern, CAC Vilnius, Los Angeles Filmforum, Museum of the Moving Image New York, Transmediale, Sonic Acts, Berlin Atonal, Ars Electronica and Impakt Festivals, Seoul Mediacity Biennale, Taiwan Video Art Biennale, Wroclaw Media Art Biennale and the Baltic Triennial, and was featured on the Criterion Channel. Their films have won numerous awards including the Silvestre Best Short Film at IndieLisboa and Best Short Documentary at Guanajuato Film Festival. They are the authors of All Thoughts Fly: Monster, Taxonomy, Film (Sonic Acts Press: 2021). Their newest film, My Want of You Partakes of Me, will premiere at Tate Modern on 25 November: https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/science-body-anatomy-day-two.