You Can Only Understand From a Distance

27 April 2016
Sarah Turner
Public House

Sarah Turner

Public House

This genre-blending documentary turns community action into an exhilarating participatory opera. In 2012, the Ivy House pub in Peckham was sold to property developers as part of the ongoing gentrification of south London. The locals were not going to let this happen. Unfolding from this scenario the film weaves verbatim testament into folk operatic form with the Ivy House itself, embodied and imagined as a central character and inhabited by memories beyond its current guests. Turner films the community’s creative reanimation of the mourned pub through dance, poetry and song. These pub cultural forms are reimagined as ritualized invocation, which both records and creates a vision of social possibility. Here, the ‘real people’ are not actors; they are performers and writers. The activism that saved the pub is a metaphor for social and creative agency. This is not just a film about resistance; it is a film that itself refuses categorization, reinventing documentary reality as a polyphonic clamour of musical subjectivities.

Panel Discussion

The Screening will be followed by a panel discussion at 7:30pm.

About the artist 

Sarah Turner is an artist who writes and makes films. Her work spans single screen gallery pieces (rooted in the formal preoccupations of the avant-garde from which she emerged) to feature length projects that explore the interplay between abstraction and narration. Her feature films Ecology (2007) and Perestroika (2009) are characterized by explorations of technologies, experimental approaches to writing and an engagement with experiences of narrative, immersion and embodiment within the long form film. Together with her new feature, Public House (2015), these three films form a trilogy of concerns that are broadly linked through ideas of ecologies: psychic, environmental and social. All of her films have toured nationally and internationally and several have been broadcast through artists’ showcases on Channel 4. Sarah has had feature scripts commissioned by the British Film Institute, Film Four Lab and Zephyr Films. She was the writer in residence in the Dept of English and Related Literature at the University of York (2004). In the same year she received a Small Grant for the Creative and Performing Arts from the AHRC in order to investigate and produce an alternative to a script-based filmmaking practice through an innovative, location based process that exploits the responsive potential of digital video technologies. Prior to her appointment at Kent Sarah was prominently involved in public life as a curator: In 1997 she curated (with Jon Thompson) the launch season of the cinema at the LUX CENTRE; the most important centre for the production, distribution and exhibition of artist’s moving image work in Europe. Prior to this she curated: Hygiene and Hysteria: The body desired and the body debased; touring programmes of Artists film and video for the Arts Council of England, as well as programmes for Tate Gallery and the National Film Theatre.

TRIAD Gallery
28 Field Street