Extract of the review by Kim West on e-flux Criticism:
Still reeling from sensory overload and labyrinthine disorientation, I find myself sitting relieved in front of what is one of the best works in the exhibition, Naïmé Perrette’s Both Ears on the Ground (2019). It’s an essay film shot in Berezniki, a city in the Urals known for the large sinkholes that suddenly opened up in its ground, swallowing industrial buildings and infrastructure.
Perrette’s film, however, doesn’t indulge the viewer with more sensationalist shots of the fateful chasms. Berezniki’s citizens don’t care about the sinkholes, and are sick and tired of journalists and film crews asking about them. Instead, Both Ears on the Ground is framed as an investigation into how these disasters have been reported and depicted, and how the citizens are seeking to image their own future, beyond enticing narratives of impending doom. This careful approach seems to have gained Perrette a certain trust among the city’s inhabitants. She gets access, for example, to film in one of the potash mines beneath the city. Proud miners show a vast, white cavern deep in the mountain, its walls covered with ornament-like traces from the excavation process. An enormous mining drill determinedly burrows its way through salt deposits. The driver of the machine appears slightly bewildered by the attention and explains that he likes to advance, to go forward.