The Jerwood/FVU Awards 2018: Unintended Consequences premieres two newly commissioned moving-image installations by Maeve Brennan and Imran Perretta, the recipients of this fifth edition of the Awards.
At a moment when world events are so volatile and turbulent that it’s hard to predict what might happen next, the two artists’ works reflect the complex, entangled nature of contemporary experience.
Maeve Brennan’s Listening in the Dark gathers a series of subtle but penetrating soundings of human beings’ impact on the natural environment. While there is a growing sensitivity to the ecological damage we are causing, we can also be strangely blind to things that happen outside of our consciousness. A creature that has often fallen beneath our radar is the bat. Undisturbed, and largely unchanged, for millions of years, its nocturnal rhythms are being increasingly interrupted by the presence of wind turbines. While noting how these new (and well-intentioned) technological developments are affecting the atmosphere in ways we do not always appreciate, Brennan also illuminates how scientific research has revealed a whole sensory dimension that we were previously oblivious to.
At a time when social and geopolitical upheaval has prompted the mass displacement and migration of people across the globe, Imran Perretta’s film 15 days examines how the face of the refugee has been dehumanised, often anonymised, and frequently demonised.
The work is inspired by the time that Imran spent in Calais and Dunkirk with former inhabitants of the refugee camp that became known as the Jungle, and are now living rough in the surrounding woodland. The title of the piece is not a measure of the length of his stay there but rather the alias of one of the people who he became friends with (no one goes by their real names), and a comment on how time slips by when waiting in limbo, in the hope of a new and better life.
The artists were selected from over 170 applications by Noor Afshan Mirza, artist and co-founder of no.w.here; George Vasey, co-curator, Turner Prize 2017 and curatorial fellow at Newcastle University; Steven Bode, Director, FVU; and Sarah Williams, Head of Programme, Jerwood Visual Arts.
Images: 15 days, Imran Perretta / Listening in the Dark, Maeve Brennan, installed at Jerwood Space. Photographer: Anna Arca