17 January 2018

Exhibition Announcement: Jerwood/FVU Awards 2018: Unintended Consequences

Exhibition Announcement: Jerwood/FVU Awards 2018: Unintended Consequences

Jerwood Space, London, 6 April - 3 June 2018

Celebrating its fifth edition, Jerwood Charitable Foundation and Film and Video Umbrella proudly introduce the new exhibition Jerwood/FVU Awards 2018: Unintended Consequences, which will premiere two moving-image commissions by Maeve Brennan and Imran Perretta. These significant new works have been developed following an award of £20,000 to each artist in June last year.  Following its debut at Jerwood Space, London from 6 April to 3 June 2018 the show will travel to arts venues across the UK.

At a moment when world events are so volatile and turbulent that it’s hard to predict what might happen next, the curatorial theme Unintended Consequences has provoked two artists’ projects that reflect the complex, entangled nature of contemporary experience. 

Maeve Brennan and Imran Perretta both submitted bold and striking proposals.  FVU is working closely with the artists, along with Sarah Williams and Oliver Fuke of Jerwood Visual Arts, to oversee the development of the films over the production period.

Listening in the Dark by Maeve Brennan

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.

A case in point would be Donald Griffin’s pioneering studies of bats, which opened our eyes (and ears) to their extraordinary methods of navigation, and provided the basis for an understanding of echolocation. Combining archival footage of the seminal Griffin/Galambos experiment with footage shot on location in Scotland, Brennan’s film looks back over an unimaginable span of geological time, enlisting fossil records and other evidence to remind us of the mysterious landscape beneath our feet as well as the unheard soundscape going on above our heads. 

15 days by Imran Perretta

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 artist portrays this state of limbo through computer-generated imagery, conjuring up a solitary figure constantly fidgeting and checking his phone, accompanied by a poignant monologue spoken by a Pashtun actor and based on conversations had in the camp.  Against the digital backdrop of trees and muddy fields, interspersed with handheld footage shot on location in France, a tent flaps in the breeze.  The improvised, flimsy structure is a constant reminder of all that stands between them and the world.  Even this modest protection rarely lasts very long.  Their tents and belongings are regularly slashed by vigilantes or the police and they are forcibly moved on to no man’s land.  Stark and compelling, Perretta’s film captures the intense emotions of living on the edge and brings them to the forefront of our minds.

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.

Read the full press release here


Image: 15 days (research image), Imran Perretta, 2018.

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