"Architecture is a Child of the Sea": Short Films from Prismatic Ground with Inney Prakash and Rhayne Vermette: Block Museum - Northwestern University
Skip to main content

"Architecture is a Child of the Sea": Short Films from Prismatic Ground with Inney Prakash and Rhayne Vermette

An etched and manipulated 16mm film still depicting the frame of a house under construction.
Still from LES CHÂSSIS DE LOURDES (2016) by Rhayne Vermette
7 PM

Event Details

Date & Time:

Thu February 1, 2024
7 PM


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


Open to the public


"Architecture is a Child of the Sea": Short Films from Prismatic Ground 

(multiple artists, 2016-2021​​, digital, approx. 90 min)

Taking its title from a quote by the architect Gio Ponti— excerpted at greater length by filmmaker and former architect Rhayne Vermette in her description for Les Châssis de Lourdes— this program attempts to reveal the spiritual origins and ends of architecture through studies of its material traces. In particular, these works together reflect how different kinds of homecomings can bring the weight of a building’s past to bear upon or reinforce its enduring physical dimensions. Each of the four featured film artists possesses a keenly poetic sensibility, sharpened by their precisely measured craft. Leveraging the specificity of various moving image techniques, they deconstruct the spatial reality of domesticity using history, philosophy, politics, and memory as tools of conjuration, illuminating those necessarily temporal aspects of dwelling, and navigating the gaps that separate us from a solid sense of home. (Inney Prakash)

Following the screening, guest filmmaker Rhayne Vermette will appear for discussion with Inney Prakash and Block Museum Curator of Cinema and Media Arts Michael Metzger.

Films screened: 


(Rhayne Vermette, 2016, 18 min, courtesy of the artist)

“…while many architects through their time have sought a ‘true house’ or a ‘true architecture’, their truth was something of the past and not so true in the present […] here architecture is a child of the sea, arose from its substance (architecture is always conceived from the interior)…” Gio Ponti

At the age of 32, I finally ran away from home. Dramatically, I left with only my cat and copies of all the still and motion images taken by my father (these dating until the mid 1990s when he then passed his camera down to me). And while I unpacked the baggage of this surreal house coincidentally, back home, renovations were in order… Here, an architectural threnody is composed through a falsified genealogy of image making and various “true stories” of Lourdes. What time is it? No time to look back. (Rhayne Vermette)



(Carl Elsaesser, 2021, 30 min, courtesy of VDB)

Stretching and blurring the boundaries of video essay, experimental film and home movie, traces of a 1950s homemade melodrama by amateur filmmaker Joan Thurber Baldwin intermingle with a mournful homage to the author’s grandmother and her vacated home. A powerful mélange of cinematic and domestic spaces, past and present. (Kevin B Lee)



(Suneil Sanzgiri, 2021, 19 min, courtesy of the artist)

When Suneil Sanzgiri visited his family’s home in Goa, India for the first time in 2019, he realized that prior to that point, he “had only seen India through images taken through other people’s eyes.” In the bold, visually adventurous Golden Jubilee—the third in a trilogy of shorts about “memory, diaspora, and decoloniality”—he reclaims these images to create a new kind of cinematic perspective.

Sanzgiri created Golden Jubilee’s animation of the homestead using mapping software designed for mining companies, an industry that did irreparable damage to Goa. But Sanzgiri repurposes the technology to reawaken his family’s history—and in the process, he seeks to wrest Goa free from the perspective of the colonizers. (Chloe Lizotte)



(Razan AlSalah, 2017, 7 min, courtesy of the artist)

A Palestinian grandmother returns to her hometown Haifa through Google Streetview, today, the only way she can see Palestine. In this experimental short film, filmmaker Razan AlSalah channels glitch aesthetics and digital erasure in a subversion of the physical borders and checkpoints imposed by the Israeli occupation. (Cinema Politica)



(Rhayne Vermette, 2017, 15 min, courtesy of the artist)

“The block of marble is the most beautiful of all statues” – Carlo Mollino

This is the story of the godlike architect, Carlo Mollino, animated within the desk space of failed architect, Rhayne Vermette. Made, with love on 16mm, 35 and Super 8, this classic tale of Pygmalion investigates intersections between cinema and architecture.

For E. Ackerman, A. Jarnow, and T. Ito. (Rhayne Vermette)


All films presented digitally.

About the guests: 

Inney Prakash is a film programmer and curator based in New York City. He is the Founder/Director of Prismatic Ground and has served as a film programmer at the Maysles Documentary Center, Shorts Program Director at Freep Film Festival, Associate Programmer at Aspen Shortsfest, and Curatorial Lead for the San Diego Asian Film Festival.

About the artist:

Rhayne Vermette (Métis) is an artist and filmmaker born in Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, Manitoba. Her filmmaking practice has been described as opulent collages of fiction, animation, documentary, re-enactments, and divine interruption. She received a BA in Literature from the University of Winnipeg (2005) and studied architecture at the University of Manitoba (2010). Her films take my word (2012), Black Rectangle (2014), Extraits d’une Famille (2015), Domus (2017), and Ste. Anne (2021) have screened at museums, festivals, and galleries internationally, including New York Film Festival, Berlinale, Canadian Film Institute, Melbourne International Film Festival, European Media Arts Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Mar Del Plata International Film Festival, Viennale, Jeonju International Film Festival, Valdivia International Film Festival, imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, and documenta Madrid, among many others. She is the recipient of awards, fellowships, and grants, including a Mosaic Film Fund Award from Winnipeg Film Group (2011), PLATFORM Photography Award from PLATFORM Centre for Photographic and Digital Arts (2019), an Amplify Voices Award for Best Canadian Feature Film from Toronto International Film Festival (2021), and Best Departures Feature from Indie Memphis Film Festival for Ste. Anne (2021). She lives and works in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (Media City Film Festival)

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