Show Calendar


Brighton Festival: Emma Critchley - Witness

Premised on the examination of an ice core as the post-mortem of a glacier, 'Witness' is a film installation which links the human body with the body of ice, known as a glacier, through dance, spoken word and scientific imagery. The film’s narrative recounts historic events revealed within ice cores, which hold bubbles of air preserved from the Earth’s atmosphere from up to 2.7 million years ago. Weaving together these histories with scientific findings and human stories of glacial retreat, the piece considers the glacier as witness to events which have led to its accelerating decline. Drawing upon our collective, non-linear past to explore the interconnectivity of events, the film calls to account how we are all witness to the climate emergency that is unfolding around us.

‘Witness’ was created by Brighton based artist Emma Critchley during the Earth Water Sky environmental art and science residency programme at Science Gallery Venice, where she spent a year with a team of climate scientists on the Ice Memory Project: a global initiative to create an archive of ice cores from glaciers that are rapidly disappearing.

Sound Design by award-winning composer Nicolas Becker (Gravity, Sound of Metal).

Emma Critchley is an award-winning artist filmmaker who uses montage and deconstructed narratives to explore our human relationship with the underwater environment: politically, philosophically and environmentally.

Find out more about this project from the artist here: Brighton Festival - Behind the scenes with Emma Critchley

For its UK premiere at Brighton Festival, Witness has been reworked as a three-screen installation.

On selected days (Saturday 7, Sunday 8, Thursday 12 and Friday 13 May at 5pm & 7pm), a multilingual version of the film's spoken soundtrack will be performed live within the film installation in Latin-American Spanish

Sunday 15 May - installation open from 11am - 9pm (with last entry at 8.15pm) - free, no advanced booking required

Live performers
Eugenia Caruso
Caroline Mgata
Constanza Ruff

Grace Chinonyerem Okebugwu
Giovanna Garzotto
Ayako Inanami

Sound and music
Nicolas Becker
Lucy Railton

Witness was originally commissioned by the Earth Water Sky Residency programme. Funded by Fondation Didier et Martine Primat at Ca' Foscari University of Venice as part of the Science Gallery Network.

The Earth Water Sky Residency Programme is curated and produced by Ariane Koek.

In Brighton Witness is co-presented by Brighton Festival and Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts.

Dates & Times

Saturday 07 May, 2022 11:00am
– Sunday 15 May, 2022 9:00pm


  • Installation
    Free, no advanced booking required
  • Tickets for live performance
Film duration is 30 minutes. Film plays on a loop throughout the installation openings times. Performance is also 30 minutes duration.
Brighton Festival: Emma Critchley - Witness
Saturday 07 May  – Sunday 15 May
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