Otolith III

Otolith III inhabits the unrealized potentialities of the screenplay for Satyajit Ray's unmade 1967 film, The Alien, and explores the possibility of a politics counter to the governance by pre-emption which has come to incapacitate the radical collective imaginary: A politics which is inaugurated when the question 'what happens next' is posed by the Alien, not by those who consumed by it.

Through a rift in digital region code, the unrealized characters of Ray's The Alien have escaped to complicates matters further: what happens when the Alien is not a body, but an atmosphere, an unrecognizable space of friends, lodged in a time of enemies? Weaving audiovisual materials from Ray's oeuvre and informed by notions of temporality drawn from Pier Paolo Pasolini's Appunti per un film sull' India (1968) and Jack Kirby's visualisations for the screenplay of Roger Zelazny's novel Lord of Light (1967), Otolith III subtly coalesces into a 'premake' of Ray's film and proposes a provocative argument: perhaps the future of science-fiction is not an account of our encounter with the Alien, but tracing the Alien's account of our presence within it. A prismatic, polyvocal narration recites and refines a mission to confront Ray in order to take seriously and redeem the unfinished status of their creation. Like ghosts that do not simply appear, but return uninvited, the fugitive character-ideas of Otolith III presuppose habits of the past which must undergo 'a great unlearning. They must listen to witnesses without proofs. To sound with no images. Stories without narrative. Memories without cause.'

Text by Brian Rogers

Otolith III takes The Alien, the unrealised screenplay of the legendary Bengali director Satyajit Ray, as its point of departure. Written in 1967, The Alien would have been the first science fiction film to be set in contemporary India. Otolith III returns to 1967 to propose an alternative trajectory in which the fictional protagonists of The Alien attempt to seize the means of production in order to create the conditions for their existence as images.

Commissioned by The Showroom and Gasworks and filmed in London, Otolith III is an experiment in temporal and geographical displacement which The Group call a premake, a remake of a film before the original.

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Still from Otolith III
HD video (colour, sound), 48min., UK, 2009