Sitting Still; a 16mm, 20 min, (col) film which brings the filmmaking process as performance and image into the fold of fragmented spoken narratives.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Westminster
Department Name: Faculty of Media Arts and Design



The proposal is for a 16mm, 20min (col) film that will address the question of how contemporary postmodern theory of subjectivity can be applied in experimental film. The use of fixed camera, real time and a reflexive foregrounding of the filmmaking process will combine an exploration of fragmented subjectivity and narrative. The film frame as a threshold will be used as a metaphor for the perceptual process of 'taking in' information from the world.

Sitting Still builds on my earlier work, e.g. Stages of Mourning (2004), and Taking My Skin (2006), insofar as it is concerned with the filmmaking process as it relates to the subject and subjectivity which expand on and depart from the modernist strategies of Structuralist film.

Following (feminist) experimental filmmakers, whose work emerged out of the Structuralist film movement and who have explored in particular the use of voice-over with image such as Lis Rhodes, Alia Syed, Nina Danino, and Sue Friedrich, Sitting Still will explore the combination of fragmented narrative voice-over with modernist filmic devices. Primarily the film will draw influence from Rhodes and Danino in the way in which they use out-of-focus image with a voice-over that fragments through multiple points of view. Building on this work, Sitting Still will expand the potential in experimental film of the relationship between certainty and uncertainty of image and word, by the way in which modernist (exposing process) and postmodernist (constructing fragmented narratives) strategies can be brought together in film.

The filmic strategy unique to Sitting Still brings the filmmaking process as performance and image into the fold of fragmented spoken narratives. The film will appear as one long take of a view out of a window (the window in frame). The performer who is also the filmmaker opens and closes the curtain, blind, camera lens and aperture and adjusts focus. This performance is narrated in first-person present tense. Interwoven with this narrative is a third-person past-past tense narrative about the experiences of bereavement and anorexia. The compounded voice-over of both, serves to address the question of perceptual and psychical processes where there is a limit of what can be 'taken in' from the outside world.

As chief investigator, I will act as producer, writer, director, chief camera and editor while employing a camera and an editing assistant. Production will commence 15 July 2007 and the film will be completed by 15 March 2008.

Sitting Still will be submitted to leading international festivals which have featured my work in the past (e.g. Oberhausen, Montreal Festival of New Cinema). The film will benefit from my existing distribution network of distributors which include the Lux, BFI, British Council, New York Filmmakers Co-op, Canyon Cinema (San Francisco). Discussions for exhibition are in place with Four Corners Film gallery in London, with a view to staging the film. I currently work with a consultant (funded by AHRC dissemination award) with whom I am developing positioning and dissemination strategies for the further distribution of my work to date. Among other things this has resulted in retrospective screenings in London and New York in the past year (see CV). In addition the film enters the critical context for contemporary debates on experimental film with an article in Vertigo in 2007 by Niamh McDonnell (Deleuzian philosopher, Goldsmiths University). In addition my work is to be featured in a book by David Curtis titled A History of Artists Film and Video in Britain, 1897-2004.

The film will be accompanied by a critical essay. Both address an interdisciplinary audience that is drawn from experimental film, poetry, visual arts, psychoanalytic theory and philosophy.


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