We Cannot Unsee is a programme of six works made by artists at no.w.here as part of a collaborative project between no.w.here and BFI which was supported by King's College London, and generously funded by Wellcome Trust.
The films screening draw upon the potentials for science fiction imagery and narratives to communicate the ways in which people experience a range of symptoms associated with psychiatric and brain disorders. By working with film - a visual form which offers alternative nonlinear, non-verbal impressionistic ways to convey lived experience - these works aim to deepen our understanding of symptoms associated with patho-psychologies, and reassign agency to those who experience them.
The artists will be in attendance, and will be on hand for a post-screening discussion of their work and the project’s innovative approach to representing psychologies.
Edwin Mingard: Emotion Out 5 minutes, Super 16mm, Colour 2015
EMOTION OUT is a short film experiment that draws a poetic analogy between the chemical state of brain and film. Each is vulnerable to environmental factors and must be handled delicately. Using hand-processed film, animation and in-camera effects, the work explores the causes of visual aberrations in a playful way.
Sophie Hoyle Test Subject (2015) 9:45
Test Subject (2015) explores first-hand experiences of psychiatric conditions such as Anxiety and Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder, and how they can distort perception and memory. It explores psychiatric treatment in the UK and in relation to my family from Lebanon and living in Palestine and Egypt and their experiences of conflict, from which I started to look at the colonial power dynamic of Asfuriyeh, a psychiatric hospital set up in Lebanon in 1898 by Western missionaries.
In my current work I am looking at the intersections between individual and collective anxieties. I am exploring experiences of psychiatric conditions, not as individualised or de-politicised as often represented, but through affective politics as a potential tool for social change, and how alliances can be formed where different kinds of inequality and marginalisation intersect.
Rosalind Fowler: What Lies Below (17') b/w
Set in 2054, a time when soldiers have been programmed to forget their actions and robots command the front line of war, a mother reads to her daughter from a notebook written in 2015 while she was still working as a military psychologist. Recounting the dreams of soldiers, she reflects on the impact of killing on the human psyche and the inevitable technological advancements that led to a complete denial of conscience.
Rosalind Fowler is an artist filmmaker with a background in visual art and anthropology. Her work explores the politics and poetics of place and belonging in the contemporary English landscape. Through quasi-ethnographic forms of enquiry she combines real lived experiences and narratives with performance, fictionalization, writing and the language of dreams and the subconscious in her work. Recent work has been shown at the William Morris Gallery, ICA, Plymouth Arts centre, and Milton Keynes gallery, amongst other venues.
Leah E Millar: "There are Colours that we can Not See" Colour and b/w 16mm transferred to HD digital. 9.30 mins
Tom's world is closing in around him. Diagnosed with a degenerative neurological condition, he begins to see things that are not there. This short film uses experimental chemical and narrative techniques to follow his attempts to navigate and map this new territory, forced to question the context and veracity of everything he sees. Humans process and 'see' images composed of memories and real time input - Tom's problem is that he can't work out which is which. As he forms and tests out systems to find his way back what is 'real', film is used as a medium through which to question our perceptions of documentation and visual truth.
Leah E Millar is an artist working in film and sculpture. Her film practice is experimental in nature, with co-operative working methods and chemical techniques at its heart. She is interested in the recreation and emulation of organic structures and cellular rhythms through photochemical film, and the effect of this on the viewing experience. Currently studying at Central Saint Martins, she is writing on co-operative movements in artist film and video.
Seth Pimlott: Reality and Technology Enterprises, (11”) colour
It is 2025. ’Reality and Technology Enterprises’, based in Dagenham, is a dubious academic and corporate body. Led by professor Barry Cole, who wants to predict the future, the experiments take a strange turn. The film was developed with Lucas Erbe, an 11 year old who I have worked with for a year. It is a collaborative adventure in perception.
Seth Pimlott is studying Sculpture at the RCA. He has made music videos for Cold Specks and other groups, a film on Corbusier and Chandigarh, and has been awarded a scholarship to work on the neuroscience of dreaming at Kyoto university.
Tanya Singh and Sarah Dorrington: Arrive // not Her (12')
B/W & colour, sound, shot on 16mm & HD
A medical axis divides the screen, measuring, cutting, applying a violent linearity to the brain. An echo-chamber, a slippage of texts, faces flicker. Through a process of shared research, the filmmakers explored disorders of face recognition, from prosopagnosia to Capgras syndrome, alongside methodologies of face mapping, from C18th physiognomy to contemporary neuroimaging. Historical archives and individual case studies formed a jumping-off point for this film: a tenebrous, tangential narrative in close-up.
Tanya Singh is an interdisciplinary artist working across writing, performance and moving image. Her work has been shown at Laban, V&A Museum, Oxford Playhouse, Southwark Playhouse, Soho Theatre, Hampstead Theatre, Bush Theatre, Ovalhouse, MayDay Rooms, East End Film Festival, ICA and Channel 4. She frequently works collaboratively, and is a member of G.I.G. (http://www.generalintelligencegroup.org) and the Paper Tiger collective (www.papertiger.org.uk).
Sarah Dorrington is a psychiatrist and researcher working with film and video. She has been involved in collaborative projects at South London Gallery, La Borde Hospital, Institute of Psychiatry, London Consortium and Tate, and is currently researching work and mental health at King's College London.