The first attempts to map the Mississippi Delta date back to the early 18th century. Since then, this untameable, fragile and changing environment has been continually transformed to exploit its natural resources. Drifting between times and spaces, “Sweat” progressively submerges us between the lines on maps into the unruly and shifting part of this area in the company of the people that live there.
While the first part of this film recalls the age-old attempts by colonials to map the Mississippi Delta, Elsa Brès immerses us in this unfathomable area where, as we hear Faulkner’s description in one of the shots, “a fellow couldn’t tell where was the river and where the land”. While humankind tried to tame the elements, “Sweat” offers a new choreography in the heart of this land, its dancers a few neo-explorers roaming the area, worthy of a sci-fi film where Nature is reclaiming its rights over Man. It exudes a kind of intoxication, especially in the scene of awe on discovering an unknown species.
Elsa Brès was born in 1985 and lives between Bréau in the Cevennes and Paris. She graduated from the Fresnoy national studio of contemporary arts in 2017, the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture in Paris-Belleville (2012) and also studied at the University of Montreal and the ENSCI in Paris. Her films, sculptures and installations are rooted in hybrid landscapes and transformed geographies to create speculative narratives where times are entangled and subject matters contaminate each other. Guided by an "insistence on possibilities" and following certain paths opened up by her training as an architect, her works carefully distort their locations and points of departure to create spaces of negotiation with reality where other narratives, other narrators and other forms infiltrate. Her work has been shown at numerous international exhibitions and festivals.