Curatorial Statement

On 10th December 2021, Lateral Geographies announced its third artist in residence: Brian Ratigan – the founder of the award-winning independent studio Non Films.

Over the month long residency, Ratigan presented a series of short films documenting New York’s emergence from the Covid pandemic titled The Architecture of Time: Healing Landscapes.

When the global pandemic broke out, our lives were thrown into disarray. Fear, and an overwhelming sense of impending doom swept through communities across the world as the virus spread like wildfire claiming the lives of millions.

With no cure or effective treatment in sight, we adapted as best we could to a new reality of quarantines and social distancing. Confined to the four walls of our houses and unable to plan ahead, we felt stuck in an endless, dreadful present.

As we withdrew from social contact, a tense, restless stillness took hold of the cities. Against a spectral backdrop of deserted streets, the everyday urban spaces we had ceased to inhabit suddenly began to look foreign and alien to us. Hunkered indoors, away from friends and families, we became like scattered particles within an increasingly atomised, fragmented community.

When restrictions finally eased suggesting a return to pre-Covid normality was on the horizon, New Yorker Brian Ratigan, an award-winning animator and director – and the founder of Non Films, decided it was time to hit the streets (and the parks, which undeniably play a vital role in the social life of the City) and document New York’s emergence from lockdown after endless months of uncertainty and worry.

Once he shrugged off the confinement induced torpor that had weighed him down for too long, Brian took up his father’s old Sony Hi-8 camcorder and set out on a tour through the heart of a wounded city to film The Architecture of Time: Healing Landscapes.

A self-described architect of memory looking for magic and hope where we would least expect to find them – Ratigan offers with The Architecture of Time a heartfelt and intimate account of New York as it recovers from the impact of the virus – a personal report that serves as a timely evidence of the sheer, indomitable resilience of the city and its people.

The Architecture of Time consists of multiple self-contained excerpts or chapters of different lengths; the chapters were all shot between Spring 2020 and Winter 2021.

Words by Lateral Geographies Curator Jacopo Nuvolari

Biographical Note: Brian Ratigan is an award-winning filmmaker and festival programmer based in Brooklyn, NY.

He is the founder of Non Films, a label for ephemeral animation and experimental cinema that routinely screens new work at festivals worldwide. He serves as Director of Animation for Kumar Pictures where he can be found designing animation and motion graphics, and also co-manages Chaotic Cinema.

Ratigan is established in the film festival circuit as a programmer and juror for Slamdance Film Festival, Chicago Underground Film Festival, Animation Nights New York, the Film & Video Poetry Society, the London Indie Festival, and more.

He began exploring his love for the avant-garde and independent film in his hometown of Birmingham, AL at the Sidewalk Film Festival while also running visual projection for many ambient music artists and hip hop collective LOBOTOMIX. Ratigan’s work has been featured in the New York Times and he can usually be found attending screenings at Anthology Film Archives or browsing the Brooklyn Public Library.