Gabriel Abrantes’ work can be described as multifaceted and experimental, since he develops his film and video projects from scratch, by writing, directing and producing them himself, and sometimes even performing as an actor. Frequently in partnership with another artist, and always in an intuitive and irreverent way, he develops a rather personal historical, political and social approach to the themes of his interest, ranging from issues of gender and identity, to the legacies of colonialism. His work is developed by the intentional subversion of the established narrative formulas and the use of humor and absurdity. The result is often surprising, baffling and provocative, and it offers the viewer several layers of perception by combining Hollywood aesthetics with documentary or experimental techniques.
Ben Rivers’ work, which initially was focused on the individual, has progressively evolved to the filming of small communities living apart, often collaborating with the American filmmaker Ben Russell. Rivers filmed on islands in the coast of Africa, Japan, South Pacific, but he considers British islands to be still comforting. His interest
in utopia evokes a long history in England, from the Enlightenment to the experiences of communal living of the 60’s and 70’s. Rivers’ work highlights the importance of preserving the identity of small communities, so that the individual may sustain a relevant role in larger societies. This interest in utopian experiences led him to create a temporary community in Scandinavia, and intentionally manipulate its social circumstances, during the production of his feature film A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness, in 2015.