Rocaterrania is a feature length documentary exploring the secret world of scientific illustrator and visionary artist Renaldo Kuhler.
In the last four decades, seventy-six-year-old Renaldo Kuhler has created hundreds of plates for the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, illustrating diverse flora and fauna for obscure scientific journals and reference books. Before the making of this documentary, no one knew that Kuhler is also a prolific visionary artist.
Since his teens, Kuhler has been pouring all his private anguish and artistic energy in a project that has remained secret up until now. That project is Rocaterrania, an imaginary country somewhere between the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York and the St Lawrence River on the border between the US and Canada.
“Each person is a nation unto himself, and what he does with that nation is up to him,” Kuhler explains at the end of the aforementioned trailer, that offers a brief and intriguing glimpse into the grim fairytale he constructed in the far reaches of his imagination.
It’s no wonder Kuhler was reluctant to publicise the existence of his troubled ‘inner country’. But it is a shame - the illustrations of the people and places in Rocaterrania look fantastic. And in any case, now there’s the upcoming feature-length film, also called Rocaterrania, by documentary-maker Brett Ingram.
This map shows the location of Rocaterrania on the St Lawrence River, and its borders with the US and Canada. Multicultural Rocaterrania possesses a corridor to the river, in which is located the town of Katerin Shtot (sounds Yiddish, or at least looks like it because of the phonetic spelling). A large, uninhabited area to the west is called Westerwald (German). A town on the east bank of Lago Eldorado (Spanish) is the town of Novo Tyumen (Russian), on its west bank is Biala (which sounds more Polish), and further west are places called Serbia, East New Serbia and Black New Serbia.
Rocaterrania as a New World dystopia with an Eastern European flavour: this is somewhat reminiscent both of The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (Michael Chabon’s allohistorical detective novel set in an Alaskan homeland for the Jews) and of The Jew of New York (a graphic novel by Ben Katchor about a real-life, failed attempt to found a Jewish utopia in… upstate New York).(read more...)
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