Image: courtesy of the artist and Kate MacGarry

Marking the current exhibition at Hestercombe Gallery, this half day event will bring together the artist, the films’ writer, the show’s curators and invited guests to consider the themes raised by Ben Rivers‘ ambitious and deeply imagined works.


Beginning with a contextualising walk through the grounds, ongoing conversation will give the audience a number of relaxed opportunities to discuss the show in depth. Gareth Evans will host the event and contextualise Urthworks in current literature and film, while engaged publisher and event maker Sarah Shin will provide a response to the show from her own richly transformational perspective. Hestercombe Gallery Director Tim Martin will introduce us to the connections between the filmic landscapes and Somerset terrain. Urthworks curator Josephine Lanyon will consider the ways in which Rivers and the cave explorer Balch allow us to imagine the future of our planet by both voyaging back into history.

Crucially, exhibiting artist Ben Rivers and his collaborator, speculative fiction writer Mark Von Schlegell, will uncover the fascinating way they have developed complementary text and image narratives, weaving myth, scientific theory and contemporary debates on climate change into their provocative film trilogy.

Supported by Somerset Art Works, Somerset Film, Arts Council England, Hestercombe Gallery and the National Lottery Heritage Fund


1.30 – 4.30pm, Sunday 2nd February 2020
Hestercombe Gallery and Gardens

Tickets are £10 and refreshments will be available.
Book here:




About the Speakers

Ben Rivers hails from Somerset and described his youth as ‘embroiled in myths and legends around the countryside’. Rivers was awarded the prestigious Dutch Eye Art and Film Prize in 2016 and in 2013 completed an extraordinary ArtAngel Commission. He twice won a Tiger Award (2008/2014) from Rotterdam Film Festival. Rivers works have been shown at the Renaissance Society, Chicago, USA to the Kunstverein in Hamburg; The Whitworth, Manchester and Camden Arts Centre, London.

Mark von Schlegell is a U.S. born science fiction novelist, art writer, and cultural critic. He lives in Cologne. Novels include Venusia (2005), which was honor’s listed for the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, and Sundogz (2015). Critical work has been gathered in Realometer Re-Loaded (2018). Projects from recent years include directing the Pure Fiction Seminar at Frankfurt’s Staedelschule (2011-19), writing The Lepidopters (2012–14), a comic book/rock opera originating in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and scripting the Ben Rivers films Urth (2016) and Slow Action (2010).

Gareth Evans is a London-based writer, editor, film and event producer and Whitechapel Gallery’s Adjunct Moving Image Curator. He is co-curator of Porto’s Forum of the Future, Cinema Qamar in Jordan, Estuary, Flipside and First Light Festivals, Swedenborg Film Festival and Whitstable Biennale.

Sarah Shin is a publisher, curator and writer. She is the founder of New Suns, a curation and storytelling project, which began as a feminist literary festival at the Barbican Centre. She is also among the co-founders of Silver Press, a feminist publisher, and, more recently Ignota Books, an “experiment in the techniques of awakening” which has recently published titles by the likes of Ursula K. Le Guin, Satoshi Nakamoto and Nisha Ramayya.


Published on December 20, 2019 // Sarah Adey