Frankfurt am Main | 13 – 20 October 2024

Assembling and entwining nine locations filmed at night, "Liquid Skin" crosses the dreamlike counterlogic of David Lynch with urban spaces that may evoke Tarkovsky, Lang’s Metropolis or drawings by Escher. We think of ourselves as diurnal beings with nocturnal time dedicated to sleep and dream. Between dusk and dawn, ‘in the shadows of time’, nine women, who all perform night-time labour, take us on a tour of sites linked by history, economics and events shaping the post-industrial landscape of the Ruhr region in Germany.


Through the choice of locations, the film links the nocturnal with questions on the subterranean, which is ever-present across this region with its thousands of kilometres of quiet tunnels underneath. Filmed in long, mostly single shot, sequences each guided by one protagonist the work speaks to a gendered exploration of what it means to be part of night-time economies. All of the protagonists are night-workers, including a baker, a pole dancer, a care worker/nurse, a nightclub bouncer, a cleaner etc. The work is filmed in black & white Infrared, giving both the locations and the people a slightly abstracted and ghostly appearance. Sound is a fundamentally important element of the work and refers to the industrial, technological, subterranean sounds of the coal mining histories. The soundtrack is constructed from field recordings captured in each location but used in a non-diegetic way that consciously avoids synch sound.


Film Info




  • Melanie Manchot

    Visual artist/filmmaker Manchot employs film, video and sound to form sustained enquiries into our individual and collective identities. Performance-to-camera, reconstruction, participation and location-based research are recurring methodologies. Her films operate on the cross-section of documentary and narrative fiction to investigate how fact, storytelling and observation offer strategies for speaking about our shifting place in an increasingly mediated world.

    "Stephen" is her first feature film. "Stephen", Liverpool Biennnial, UK, 2023; "Stephen", Sheffield DocFest International Competition, 2023; "Liquid Skin", Urbane Künste Ruhr, Witten, 2023; "Alpine Diskomiks", Parafin, London, 2022; "Black Snow White Out", Museum Lumen, Italy, 2021; "Open Ended Now", MACVAL, Paris, France; "Art Night", London (2018). Her films have been shown at film festivals including Locarno, Raindance, Aesthetica, Kasseler DokFest.

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