Filled with hypnotic images of the empty ocean, Meyers’s meditative film exquisitely renders the textures, colours and all-over movement of the waves. The ocean appears as a vast emptiness. But as Herman Melville wrote in Moby Dick: ‘When beholding the tranquil beautiful and brilliancy of the ocean’s skin, one forgets the tiger heart that pants beneath it.’ Meyers reminds us of this, putting visions of the oceanic expanse into dialogue with quotations and representations that trace its rich history in a cultural repertoire of signs. She draws on American literature of the nineteenth century, monuments, paintings and museum exhibitions to offer a portrait of the beauty and violence of the Massachusetts coast.
Rebecca Meyers, born in 1976 in New York City, is a 16mm filmmaker living in Pennsylvania. Her films have screened internationally at festivals and in curated exhibitions such as the Toronto International Film Festival (Wavelengths); New York Film Festival’s Views from the Avant-Garde; Les Inattendus, Lyon; London International Film Festival; ‘Bringing to Light’ at the San Francisco Cinematheque and White Shadows: Stories and Polar Visions, Galleria Civica di Arte Contemporanea, Turin. blue mantle has been screened recently in exhibitions associated with the book An Oceanic Feeling: Cinema and the Sea (Erika Balsam, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, 2018), and within this context appeared in the Taipei Biennial 2020. Meyers is also a professor and has programmed screenings for festivals and venues including Chicago’s Onion City Experimental Film + Video Festival, Brooklyn’s Light Industry and the Harvard Film Archive; she has curated a weekly film series for a single-screen independent theatre in Lewisburg, PA since 2013. Meyers holds an MFA from the University of Iowa in Film/Video Production. Since 2013 she has been teaching in Bucknell University’s Film/Media Studies programme in Lewisburg. She is a board member of Canyon Cinema, a San Francisco foundation dedicated to educating the public about artist-made moving images, and she is co-editor of Looking with Robert Gardner (SUNY Press, 2016).