Homo Sapiens Project (200) (2000 – 2020, 490 Minutes, Iran / Ireland)
Homo Sapiens Project (200) was completed in 2020 as part of the 20th anniversary of Experimental Film Society. This eight-hour experimental feature is constituted from short film experiments made between 2000 to 2010. These films have already undergone many metamorphoses over the years. They were always restless wandering spirits seeking a permanent place of rest but so far without success. Each section of Homo Sapiens Project (200) was made under the unique condition of living out a form of subtle therapeutic practice. Collectively they reflect major life-changing events, formalistic mutations and thematic shifts within Rouzbeh Rashidi’s filmography. In spite of this, they could not find the peace of a satisfactory final shape. Indeed, they are about peace, something that rarely (if ever) exists within Rashidi’s work. But now, after twenty years of roaming the subconscious, they have come to rest in a permanent retirement in one world, one very personal floating planet. After all, how much and to what degree can material be pushed to formal extremes through constant re-editing, re-contextualising and experimentation? Extremes are fascinating limits and conditions, but is it worth causing these short films to suffer under such harsh circumstances forever? Perhaps yes, perhaps no! A filmmaker only seeks but never provides answers. A catharsis might be caused through an ultimate fatal final act but even this will never entirely allow surrender to the ever-increasing incompatibility between life and cinema: “I am the films I will never make, and the films I already made are my mistakes.”
In 2011 Rouzbeh Rashidi initiated the Homo Sapiens Project (HSP), an ongoing series of personal experimental video works. Since its inception HSP has undergone a totally organic metamorphosis, drastically mutating from cryptic film diaries and oneiric sketches to fully-polished feature films. As a result, the project has created many different experiences for Rashidi as a filmmaker; yet while HSP is steadily evolving, one thing remains constant: the view to create impressionistic portraits of people and places, suffusing them with an eerie sense of mystery that is perhaps reminiscent of horror and sci-fi cinema. Rashidi has collaborated with a large selection of artists from all over the world and, has so far completed 200 instalments that vary from 1 to 490 minutes in duration.