Erin Espelie

True-Life Adventures I, II, & III

2013, 16 minutes, Color, Sound, HD Digital Video

Using found sound from Disney's 1940-50s nature documentaries, this trilogy creates a mismatch between the digital image and historic/histrionic voiceover. It confounds traditional nature documentaries by adhering to strict time and spatial limits, and ratchets up false expectations about wildlife; continuity editing begins to break down to reveal a necessarily condensed representation of the natural world.

True Life Pillbugs
True Life Leaf Iced
True Life Feeding

Espelie, a great reader of poetry, collages the original soundtracks to create new meanings, and by the end of the series, language breaks apart. For much of the trilogy’s running time, Espelie indulges the desire to translate the world into language and understanding. But the narrations become more fragmented as the series progresses. The rushing flow of the world can be measured and named and will continue to burst out of the banks of any river that tries to contain it.

True Life Birds Nest
True Life Butterflydrinking


  • True-Life Adventure I

    London Film Festival, British Film Institute / Natural History Museum, London, UK, 2012

  • True-Life Adventure II

    Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK, 2013

  • True-Life Adventure I, II, & III

    51st New York Film Festival, Views from the Avant-Garde, New York, NY, 2013