PFUI — PISH, PSHAW / PRR

SASKIA OLDE WOLBERS, 2017

Commissioning Curator:
Nadja Argyropoulou for Polyeco Contemporary Art Initiative

Artist
Saskia Olde Wolbers

Title
Pfui — Pish, Pshaw / Prr

Date
2017

Medium

Two-channel HD video, 2O’

Credit Line

Editor:
David Panos

Music: Daniel Pemberton

Director of Photography Archive:
Theodosis Alifrangis

Sound: Tom Sedgwick

Voice-Over:
George Chalkias

Additional Voices:
Xenia Bolomiti, Giullia Innocenti

Voice-Over Director:
Giullia Innocenti

Script Editor:
Sarah Ardizzone

Chemical Advisor:
Ilias Avramikos

Greek Subtitles:
Fotini Pipi

Work commissioned by curator Nadja Argyropoulou for Polyeco Contemporary Art Initiative (PCAI), Greece, and co-produced by Invisible Dust.
further funding by the Elephant Trust, Goldsmiths University of London, Breathing SPACE Award of Space Studios London.

Object label

For this work of fiction the artist drew inspiration and data
from marine disasters involving oil spills, like the one from the
shipwreck of Sea Diamond off the coast of Santorini, dealt
with by Environmental Protection Engineering SA. Through
the mediation of PCAI, Wolbers attended the cleaning
procedures in the area, which have been going on for a
decade, and spoke in particular with one of the company’s
most experienced staff members in this field, Mr Thedosis
Alifrangis.
The material for the film came from three sources:
– The amateur video archive of Mr Alifrangis himself, spanning
over a period of twenty years and featuring footage from
oil spill treatment randomly alternating with scenes from
his family life (Christmas celebrations and gatherings of
around the same time as professional calls for environmental
accidents);
– Underwater images from this shipwreck and other
submarine landscapes with the use of sonar devices, a
technology also employed in marine archaeology;
– Footage shot with a micro-camera inside a reservoir kept
in the artist’s studio, which holds her hand-made miniature
shipwreck coated with dripping iridescent color substances
and surrounded by constructed seashell formations and
ferromagnetic mussels.
The monologue script is rendered as though through the
mouth of a worker specialized in such incidents, but is a text
that expands into musings around matter and spirit, ancient
rituals for cleansing the sea and ‘purifying’ the natural
element; it includes expressions of love for shipwrecks and
recollections of heroic acts of protecting the environment
against a mundane everyday reality, and even elements from
the strange jargon for underwater sonar image capturing
equipment or words with a special mythological allusion and
a significance of provenance in the Greek language, such as
Ananke.
The title of the work derives from a phrase made of ink blots
and used in a letter by D.H. Lawrence, who abandoned
language in order to express anger.

Nadja Argyropoulou, March 2017