A Siberian Poetics of Extinction in Cinema: Block Museum - Northwestern University
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A Siberian Poetics of Extinction in Cinema

A young man with dark hair and medium skin tone sits meditatively, wearing a camouflage jacket, in front of a painted Siberian landscape.
HOLGUT (2021) dir. Liesbeth De Ceulaer
7 PM

Event Details

Date & Time:

Thu May 18, 2023
7 PM


The Block Museum of Art
40 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208


Open to the public


A Siberian Poetics of Extinction in Cinema

(Various artists, 2020-2021, digital, approx. 83 mins)


This program brings together two films by the Belgian filmmaker Liesbeth De Ceulaer and Canadian-Mongolian artist Alisi Telengut that foreground Mongolian and Siberian Indigenous livelihoods and cosmologies in the age of environmental change and degradation. THE FOURFOLD (dir. Alisi Telengut, 2020) is a short animation film, based on ancient animistic beliefs and shamanic rituals in Mongolia and Siberia that explores Indigenous worldview and attempts to reclaim animist ideas on a planetary scale. HOLGUT (dir. Liesbeth De Ceulaer, 2021) is set in the Arctic landscapes of northern Siberia in the Sakha Republic. In a style that poetically blends documentary, myth, and fiction, De Ceulaer ruminates upon the consequences of postcolonial environmental degradation through the eyes of three protagonists – hunters Roman and his brother Kyym, and the scientist Semyon. As permafrost thaws in the Siberian tundra, fossils of extinct mammoths come to light, while wild reindeer incrementally disappear, altering the lives of Indigenous communities residing in the region. Blending documentary and fiction, HOLGUT is a poetic and speculative contemplation upon the possibilities of life in postcolonial landscapes of ruin in the contemporary moment. Both works, in their different ways, point to the mutual co-entanglement of humans and nonhumans, mapping out alternative forms of living in the land of thawing ice and environmental degradation.


THE FOURFOLD dir. by Alisi Telengut
(2020, 8 min, digital)

HOLGUT dir. Liesbeth De Ceulaer
(2021, 75 min, digital)

The screening will be accompanied with a 15 min Q&A with the directors Alisi Telengut and Liesbeth De Ceulaer, which will be added to the Block Cinema website for the viewers to access.

Guest curated by Maria Romanova (PhD student in Comparative Literary Studies).

Presented with support from the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at Northwestern.

The Fourfold (2020) dir. Alisi Telengut

Contact The Block Museum of Art for more information: (847) 491-4000 or email us at block-museum@northwestern.edu