Online film viewing: Dee Sitonu a Weti / Stones Have Laws

About a Maroon community in the former Dutch colony Suriname

film screeningSaturday 3 October '20 → Wednesday 7 October '20


Host: Rana Ghavami

This event is part of our programme LAND: on climate, ownership and coexistence.

Dee Sitonu a Weti / Stones Have Laws is an immersive exploration of life of a Maroon community in the former Dutch colony Suriname. Combining stories of African ancestral traditions and escaped slavery, this captivating documentary examines the devastating impact of industry on the community’s bond with the land.

From October 3, 10AM to Oct 7 the film Dee Sitonu a Weti / Stones Have Laws will be available to stream. Please register below to receive the streaming link by email. Advance registrants will receive the link on October 3 at 10 AM.

Join us also on October 7th for a conversation with filmmakers Lonnie van Brummelen and Siebren de Haan.

About the film: Dee Sitonu a Weti | Stones Have Laws (2018, 100 min)

The rainforest of Suriname is mainly inhabited by the Maroons. They are the descendants of Africans who were shipped across the Atlantic to work as slaves on plantations. Some of these enslaved Africans managed to free themselves.

They founded new communities in the Amazonian rainforest – an environment unknown to them. Here they met indigenous people who helped them survive. Building on their ancestral knowledge and on what the indigenous taught them, the Maroons developed a way of life in dialogue with the rivers, the stones and the forest.

In Stones Have Laws, we teamed up with the Surinamese theater maker Tolin Alexander to collaborate on a film project that presents the colonial history that the Netherlands and Suriname share from the point of view of the Maroons, and gives insight in their way of life, not ruled by the laws of the market but by the laws of the earth. This resulted in a four-year collaboration with the Maroon community involving storytelling, collective script-making, and performance.

In the film, the Maroons demonstrate rituals to contact ancestors and local forest spirits, and recite how foreign conquerors forced them to relocate over and again. In colonial times they battled fiercely against the Dutch colonial rule. Nowadays they confront multinationals that exploit their ancestral grounds for mining and logging. The film was presented with a mobile cinema to the community and received theatrical release in the UK, Ireland, and the Netherlands.

About Lonnie van Brummelen & Siebren de Haan

We (Lonnie van Brummelen & Siebren de Haan) work together as collaborating artists since 2002, producing film installations, sculpture and collages that explore cultural and geopolitical landscapes such as Europe’s borders (Grossraum, 2005), sites of resource production and global trade (Monument of Sugar – how to use artistic means to elude trade barriers, 2007; Episode of the Sea, 2014, Stones Have Laws, 2018), and the (non) sites of cultural heritage (Monument to Another Man's Fatherland, 2008, View from the Acropolis, 2012 and subi dura a rudibus, 2010). Most of our projects involve extensive fieldwork and long term collaborations. As part of our artistic practice, we express formal and informal research trajectories and the contingency of fieldwork in textual supplements.

Venues where our works have been shown include Gulbenkian, Lisbon; ICA, London; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Concordia Gallery, Montreal; Extra City, Antwerp; HartWare, Dortmund; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Argos; Brussels; Project Arts Centre, Dublin; SMBA and De Appel Amsterdam; CCA Vilnius; the Shanghai and Guangju Biennials; IAC Villeurbanne, France.

Public collections: Kunsthaus Zürich; Les Abattoirs, Toulouse; MUDAM Luxembourg; FRAC Marseille; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf; Hoffmann Sammlung, Berlin; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

Filmfestivals (selection): IDFA; RIDM; MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight; Mar del Plata Film Festival, Argentina; Toronto International Film Festival and CPH:DOX Copenhagen.

Van Brummelen is a PhD candidate at University of Amsterdam and HKU with the research ‘Drifting Studio Practice – return of the making in the thinking’ (facilitated by ASCA (Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis).
Lonnie van Brummelen and Siebren de Haan live and work in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.