Karen Russo’s new short film Sinkholes currently filming in the Dead Sea.

Sinkholes is set in a bleak world threatened by climate change. The dumping of industrial waste has created a layer over the ocean which obstructs the hydrologic cycle, leading to successive years of drought and rivers to stop flowing. Civilisation collapses into a war over water, and society degenerates into primitivism.

Taking as its starting point the rapid drying of the Dead Sea, Sinkholes is a hallucinatory walkabout across the shimmering desert. Shot on 16mm and combining documentary footage with dramatic scenarios and poetic narration, it is a cinematic meditation about entropy, ecologic colonialism and visions of the future.

The narrative follows the main character, Dr. Ronson, who lives in a small town abandoned by residents. Voice-over narration from his diary describes his thoughts as he navigates this physical and psychic desert, documenting his last days and society’s disintegration. Inspired by J.G. Ballard’s dystopian literature and Robert Smithson’s artistic ideas about entropy the film points to the looming chaos of environmental change.