CIRCA Calendar x Emma Talbot

Emma Talbot, the London-based artist of sensuous visual poems becomes the next CIRCA artist, presenting a new body of four animated films in collaboration with Whitechapel Gallery, Collezione Maramotti and the Max Mara Art Prize for Women. Following a woman at the gateway between the old world and a new world to be made, Talbot’s ‘Four Visions for a Hopeful Future’ tells the story of a protagonist in search of answers to guide both her own journey and the development of society to a spiritual and political rebirth, on the iconic Piccadilly Lights screen. 

Coinciding with International Women’s Day (8 March), Talbot’s animations represent our current moment as a universal space of fluid nature, punctuated with direct appeals to the viewer’s emotional reasoning, where past sadness can be transcended. Quoting Indian novelist Arundhati Roy, Talbot’s work utilizes the giant display as “a portal, a gateway between one world and the next” through which we are passing with the changing of seasons. Drawing on a history of cultural flourishing following historic pandemics, as the Black Death preceded the Renaissance, Talbot imagines a world in becoming, unshackled from the darkness of the past and limitations of societies that came before.

Her Four Visions will be broadcast in a rolling four-night schedule throughout March. Animated in hand-drawn landscapes of natural and celestial beauty, lush with bodily and floral forms, Talbot searches for answers to the questions that will define a hopeful world as this savage winter draws to an end: 

  • A Year of Dark Shadows: What will it take to emerge from a year of darkness and heal, Talbot asks? “Do you stare down into the pit… or up to the stars, pinpoints of hope in the night sky?”
  • What is a City?: The future of our cities, having depopulated and re-awoken, rests on decisions we now take between exponential growth and other forms of value
  • Our Own Creation: Talbot proposes ideas for how we each might come to visualise a hopeful future 
  • Chorus: The communal nature of the challenge ahead and the polyphony of positive voices that are necessary to build a movement for cultural rebirth

For the CIRCA Calendar this month we asked Emma Talbot 31 questions, one for each day, and her answers will be explored and fleshed out day by day. We will be digging deeper into the artist's inner landscape of personal thought, emotion and narrative through the writings and ideas of the female figures most inspirational to her including Arundhati Roy, Valerie Kaur and Rebecca Solnit. Following her love of books, and to coincide with World Book Day (4th March), we will be presenting some of the artist's favourite readings on topics such as gender inequality to environmental collapse, and how these texts inform the artist's practice in confronting some the world's biggest structural problems. The calendar this month will also be examining the artist's drawing, painting and animation work as part of her CIRCA commission through a series of exclusive behind-the-scenes videos capturing Emma in her studio and talking with CIRCA founder Josef O'Connor.

Keep an eye out for new and exclusive content released daily on the CIRCA Calendar.