This screening is to be experienced WITHOUT HEATING. Please bring a hot water bottle and a bean bag for this Siberian work in progress, presentation and discussion. Hot Vodka will be supplied.
PERESTROIKA : RECONSTRUCTED Sarah Turner
180 MINS, 2012, FLAMIN / Arts Council of England
Followed by In conversation between Sarah Turner and Karen Mirza
Perestroika: Reconstructed re-mixes, develops and extends Turner’s critically acclaimed film, Perestroika, into two sequences. The two sequences reconfigure and revisit a combination of elements - structural, visual and affectual - in order to explore the process of memory: both what we forget and how we remember.
The sequences are connected through mirroring and correspondences, an experience of déjà vu which echoes and haunts: In Sequence One the journey to Siberia is constructed as a documentary. The filmmaker inscribes herself into the narrative as both a real and fictional character, indistinguishable from one another. Suffering from retrograde amnesia following a serious cycling accident, the fictional character Sarah Turner retraces a journey she made 20 years ago on the Trans Siberian train to Lake Baikal. In Sequence two the journey structure is repeated but framed through a narration that recounts a completely different journey; effectively one of ‘Sarah’s’ stories, re-remembered and re-told. This re enactment reconfigures familiar elements: characters are referenced from Sequence One, and the mirroring is further developed through time frame and historical period; New years eve 1989/90, the era of perestroika itself.
Perestroika: Reconstructed re enacts the refusal of the opposition between storytelling and document, (the fact of event or the fiction of memory) by foregrounding the affectual in the audience’s experience: here, memory is a narrative response to affectual spaces; memory determines the affectual filter of now as much as then. The re-experience of the work is crucial to the idea of the uncanny return - enacted within the content - but the formal return locates the experience within the immersive space of cinema; journeys are always both psychic and geographical, experienced physical and imagined space. Both sequences of the film culminate at the haunting expanse of lake Baikal; our first experience of the lake is terror/apocalypse, the second, an experience of beauty/tranquility, but now that experience is something that only exists in memory, the 'real' that we no longer have access to as our 're-experience' of the water is 'contaminated' by the affectual knowledge of our initial encounter. Here, form stages theme through twinning the instability of the environment with the instability of memory and re-enacting that within the projective cinematic experience. Reading across both sequences pulls into play what we both feel and know; an uncontaminated experience of landscape is now literally and metaphorically something that only exists in memory.