This screening will be followed by a Q&A with artist-directors Noor Afshan Mirza and Brad Butler in conversation with Esther Lisk-Carew.
Films screening are:
Deep State (2012, 44mins)
Everything for Everyone and Nothing for Us (2014, 9mins)
Hold your Ground (2012, 8mins)
Deep State is a film by Noor Afshan Mirza and Brad Butler that has been scripted in collaboration with author China Miéville. The film takes its title from the Turkish term ‘Derin Devlet’, meaning ‘state within the state’. This shadowy nexus of special interests and covert relationships is the place where real power is said to reside, and where fundamental decisions are made – decisions that often run counter to the outward impression of democracy.
Amorphous and unseen, the influence of this deep state is glimpsed at regular points throughout the film – most clearly surfacing in its reflexive responses to popular protest, and in legislated acts of violence and containment, but also rumbling and reverberating, deeper down, in a counter-language to that of popular revolt, in which a police charge, a baton attack, a pepper spray, assassinations provoke, and respond to, a raised fist, a thrown rock, a crowd surge, an occupation.
Everything for Everyone and Nothing for Us is a prequel to companion work, Hold your Ground. Shown side by side, these two films are both about languages of protest, and the relationship of the body to protest. Everything for Everyone and Nothing for Us is set in a TV studio, where a protester-in-training listens to audio extracts from a political speech by Margaret Thatcher. Having absorbed the sounds, the protester uses movement to exorcise Thatcher’s voice, retraining the body to resist capitalism.
In Hold your Ground the same protester struggles to turn utterances into speech. Her efforts are interrupted by archive footage of protests in Egypt, Northern Ireland and London. Eventually, she manages to pronounce four phonetic phrases reconstructed from Arabic, meaning ‘hold your ground’, ‘Egyptians’, ‘homeland’ (of the earth, of the Nile) and ‘strike’.
The title of Hold your Ground is taken from the pamphlet ‘How To Protest Intelligently’. Everything for Everyone and Nothing for Us echoes the slogan of the Mexican Zapatista liberation movement, which began its struggle against neoliberalism, exploitation and racist oppression in 1994.
Deep State and Hold your Ground were commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella. Everything for Everyone and Nothing for Us was commissioned by the Hayward Gallery for MIRRORCITY.