Commissioning Curator:
Nadja Argyropoulou for Polyeco Contemporary Art Initiative

Saskia Olde Wolbers

Pfui — Pish, Pshaw / Prr



Two-channel HD video, 2O’

Credit Line

Director of Photography Archive: Theodosis Alifrangis

Editor: David Panos

Music: Daniel Pemberton

Sound: Tom Sedgwick

Voice over: George Chalkias

Additional voices: Xenia Bolomiti, Giullia Innocenti

Voice over Director: Giullia Innocenti

Voice over recording; Theo Prodromidis / Costas Fylaktidis / Tom sedgwick

Script editor: Sarah Ardizzone

Chemical advisor: Ilias Avramikos

Production assistants: Rachel Pimm, Rowan Wigley, Marianne Burlew, Demosthenes Epaminondas 

Sonar Postproduction: Dominik Binegger, Louise Naunton Morgan

Grading: Lajos Pataki
Sonar Location: Theodosis Alifrangis, Islami Tzezim

Audiovisual installation design: Sam Collins

Greek subtitles: Fotini Pipi

Translations: Lili Alimantiri, Ellie Antoniou

Work commissioned by Nadja Argyropoulou for Polyeco Contemporary Art Initiative and co-produced by Invisible Dust (Alice Sharp).
Further funding by The Elephant Trust, Goldsmiths University, Breathing Space Award Space Studios London.

Saskia Olde Wolbers is represented by Maureen Paley London and Stigter van Doesburg Amsterdam.

Object label

Pfui – Pish, Pshaw / Prr, deals with the urgent business of toxic waste management and gives voice to Mr Theodosis Alifrangis, the longest-serving worker of a Greek oil spill response company.
The fictional script, loosely based on Alifrangis’ anekdotes, is from an oil spill responder’s point of view and reveals his superstitious reason for filming; “Xematiasma”, the Greek oil and water divination, where his camera wards off the evil eye whilst tending to major emergencies on a daily basis.
He expands into further musings around matter and spirit, ancient rituals for cleansing the sea, his love for shipwrecks, recollections of heroic acts against the mundane everyday reality of cleaning heavy oils from the sea’s surface, until narrative time seemingly starts reversing, playing with ideas of toxic waste and permanence.
The two screen work features an eclectic sample of Alifrangis’ prolific VHS archive, unofficially filmed over 40 years on his camcorder, alongside imagery created in Olde Wolbers’ studio, where model sets of cruise ship interiors, ferromagnetic mussels and molecular structures are covered in iridescently coloured dripping oils and filmed in tanks.
It also features sonar imaging attempts around the unsalvageable Sea Diamond, a cruise ship in Santorini that has commanded Alifrangis’ daily care for the last 10 years, filmed by Olde Wolbers in collaboration with Alifrangis
Sonar is a technology used in medicine and marine archaeology and is here innovatively used in an art context to visualise pollution.
The title derives from a DH Lawrence letter in which the author abandoned language to express an onomatopoeic anger.

Nadja Argyropoulou, March 2017