Soils-Habit-Plants – a film by Mikhail Lylov and Elke Marhöfer

6 August 2022

A film screening in the Fernery at Beer & Berries 2022. Buy your £6 Beer & Berries ticket


Is it possible to understand nature not only as a background for a proceeding human history and human consciousness? Can soils and plants, with their specific habits and image politics, teach us a less human-centered way of looking at the world?

In Mikhail Lylov and Elke Marhöfer’s 2018 film Soils-Habit-Plants the camera observes intricate details of three different plants and their environments, discovering the individual plants’ habits and documenting how they contract themselves with the elements of soil, water and air. This intimate and immediate observation is interrupted by  two reference-images: a historical photograph and results of the soil conditions’ laboratory test, bringing to bear wider questions on propagation, agriculture and pressing concerns of soil health.


Mikhail Lylov & Elke Marhöfer

Mikhail Lylov is an artist and researcher based in Sicily and Berlin. His projects propose various practical, theoretical, and artistic interpretations of ecology. Working with moving, photographic, and archival images, he investigates histories of the interaction between human, animal, and elemental protagonists responsible for the emergence of various environments. Mikhail Lylov’s works have been supported and hosted by Le Pavillon program at Palais De Tokyo and Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, Berlinale Internationale Filmfestspiele and Akademie der Künste in Berlin, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Rotterdam International Film Festval, London International Film Festival and Kyoto University among others.

Elke Marhöfer is an artist and farmer based in Berlin and Sicily. She investigates ecological practices that support human and nonhuman communities. In her film works she tests nonhuman perspectives, translating a technology like the camera from a human cultural and technical device into an environmentally intensive force. In this way, the camera becomes a tool principally undifferentiated from nonhuman animal tools, and filming becomes akin to orangutans using leaves to make squeaky kiss noises.  Elke was awarded a PhD by the University of Gothenburg, and has undertaken postdoctoral research at Kyoto University. She has received fellowships, and grants from IASPIS Residency Sweden, the Whitney Independent Study Program New York, Akademie Schloss Solitude Stuttgart, Cité Internationale des Arts Paris. Her work was presented in numerous institutions, including Biennale of Urbanism Shenzhen, Badischer Kunstverein, Kyiv Biennale, Kaohsiung Museum Taipei, Palais de Tokyo Paris, Manufactura’s Studio Wuhan, FCAC Shanghai, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, NGBK Berlin, Kunstverein Hannover, and Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen, among others. Her films have been screened at BFI-Film Festival London, Berlinale Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Courtisane Festival Ghent, Images Film Festival Toronto, The Showroom London and the Cinematek Brussels, Stockholm and Toronto.

Part of the annual Beer & Berries Festival on 6 August. Find out more

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