Dr Andrea Luka Zimmerman

Profile image of Lecturer, Performance and Drama

Lecturer, Performance and Drama

Central Saint Martins

Biography

Andrea Luka Zimmerman grew up on a large council estate in Munich and left school at 16. After moving to London in 1991, she studied at Central Saint Martins for her PhD. She received the Artangel Open Award for her collaborative feature drama Cycle (2014) with Adrian Jackson (Cardboard Citizens). Her work explores the impact of globalisation, power structures, militarism and denied histories.

Her film Estate, a Reverie (2015, 83min), tracks the passing of the Haggerston Estate in East London and the utopian promise of social housing it once offered, with a spirited celebration of extraordinary everyday humanity. Her film Taskafa, Stories of the Street (2013, 66mins) is about resistance and co-existence told through the lives of the street dogs of Istanbul and is voiced by John Berger. Both films are central to Zimmerman’s first UK solo exhibition Common Ground at Spike Island, Bristol (April 8th - June 18th 2017). Her films have been nominated and shortlisted for the Grierson Award, the Aesthetica Art Prize, the Golden Orange and the Jarman Award, among other prizes.

Her forthcoming film Erase and Forget (2017, 90mins) is an inquiry into the nature of human conscience and the limits of deniability. It premiered at the 2017 Berlin Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Glashutte most original documentary award.

With David Roberts she co-curated the project Real Estates at PEER, London (2015) in association with LUX as a social, discursive and imaginative space around issues of housing and social injustice. Zimmerman has also made several commissioned short films, including Merzschmerz for Film and Video Umbrella (2014), More Utopias Now for Channel 4’s Random Acts (2016) and Lower Street, A Night’s Journey for Tintype Gallery (2016).

As co-founder of the artists' collective Fugitive Images (I am here and Estate: Art, Politics and Social Housing in Britain), Zimmerman is also a founding member of Vision Machine (collaborators on Academy Award® nominated feature documentary The Look of Silence).

Research interests

Performativity and genre, cinema and militarism, artists moving image, grey zones between private and public memory, spectral and spectacular representations of political violence, cultures of representation.

Research statement

At times of significant social change, whether revolutionary or evolutionary, committed moving image documentary practice comes more than ever into its own as perhaps the most literally and metaphorically ‘telling’ of forms by which to engage both the subjects and themes of its enquiry. Its ability to prioritise those marginalised by mainstream, commodity film-making, and the means it can employ to enable an open narrative space for individuals, communities and ways of being, becoming and belonging through enduring dialogue with its participants is exemplary.

The subtly polemical way it can build its argument through enduring encounter – outside of the template requirements of television production, whether in process or product – means that it offers time, the duration of shared experience, as well as space (the arena of its theme as well as the actual material environments of its content) as active components in its palette of tools. This combination, when allied to its specific role of advocacy, makes engaged social documentary one of the most energised in contemporary moving image practice.

My interest as an artist lies in filmmaking as experimental social practice. My practice consists of diverse engagements with radically different communities both in the making and dissemination of work.

Awards and grants

Nominations and awards

Nominated for Glashuette best original documentary award, 2017 (Erase and Forget)

Nominated and in final six for Aesthetica Art Prize, 2016 (Estate, a Reverie)

Winner of Creating Places Awards, with the Estate project, November 24th, 2015

Nominated and tour for the 2015 Jarman award

Nominated for the Grierson Award, best newcomer (Estate, a Reverie)

Nominated for best documentary, East End Film festival (Estate, a Reverie)

Artangel Open 2014, for Cycle, in collaboration with Adrian Jackson (Cardboard citizens)

Nominated for best documentary, Golden Orange Award, Turkey, 2014 (Taskafa, Stories of The Street)

Shortlisted for CINECITY Architectural Film Project, judged by Bernard Tschumi and others, 2013 (as Fugitive Images)

Shortlist Bar Tur Award, (as Fugitive Images) / I am here; 2012

1st Prize, The Ramp [2010, 5 min], Reel Health Stories festival, judged by Ken Loach and David Morrissey, awarded July 4th 2010


Professional and other awards

John Braebourne Award, 2017 (Erase and Forget)

Arts Council England Award, 2016, (Erase and Forget)

Wapping Project and Women’s Playhouse Trust award, 2016, (Erase and Forget)

CSM Restless Futures award, 2015

CSM Research award, 2014, (Estate, a Reverie)

Film and Video Umbrella Award for Merzschmerz, a series of 4 shorts, 2014

International Artists Development Award, Arts Council England Award; 2013

PRSF Foundation of New Music Award, 2012 (Estate, a Reverie)

Arts Council England Award; 2009

Danish Film Institute development award; 2008

Film London Award; 2005

Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB) research grant, 2002-2005

Projects and exhibitions

Films

2018

  • Cycle – (in development)

2017

  • Attention – (in development)
  • Erase and Forget – 88min.

2016

  • Lower Street, a Night’s Journey – 5 mins, Tintype Gallery, Essex Road III.
  • More Utopias Now - Random Acts Channel 4, 3mins

2015

  • Estate, a Reverie – 83 min. Nominated for: Grierson best Newcomer award, Jarman award, East End Filmfestival best documentary, Aesthetica Art Prize.

2013

  • Taskafa: Stories of the Street – 66 min., (text and voice by John Berger). Nominated for Golden Orange best documentary award.

2012

  • Towards Estate – 15min.
  • Merzschmerz - 4 x short films 6mins total, Film and Video Umbrella commission.

2010

  • The Ramp – 2010, 5 min. Short documentary on health and poverty for “reelhealthstories” festival, winner of 1st prize, July 4th. Judges: Ken Loach and David Morrissey

2005/9

  • The Last Biscuit - 22min. [extra on Nighthawks DVD, BFI release, 2009]

2003

  • The Delmarva Chicken of Tomorrow – 15min.


Art/Projects/Exhibitions

2017 

  • Attention (working title), 4 week show in December 2017, at Tyneside Cinema Gallery, Newcastle, as part of ‘Freedom City’ festival in honour of Martin Luther King.
  • Letter From Istanbul, group show, curated by Morgan Quaintance, PIArtworks London, 16th June – 17th July.
  • Common Ground, 10 weeks, April 8th – June 18th, 2017. Solo show at Spike Island, Bristol, celebrates strategies of social and cultural resistance and proposes new ways of living together in the face of a threatened idea of the ‘common good’.

2015

  • Real Estates, 6 weeks, Feb – March 2015. Fugitive Images (Andrea Luka Zimmerman and David Roberts) programmed speakers, screenings and events as well as invited communities, campaigners, thinkers and engaged practitioners related to the housing crisis. In association with LUX artists moving Image and PEER gallery London + CSM Restless Futures.

2014

  • I Am Here (Zimmerman, Johansson, Fennell), large-scale public art work on façade of a 5-storey housing estate on Haggerston estate, 2009 – 2014.

2013

  • From Heroin to Heroines, photography project (Zimmerman and Roberts), 2012-13

2012

  • Flat Screens 2011-2012: Zimmerman programmed a series of film screenings with discussion in Studio 75, a disused flat on the Haggerston estate. Alongside the screenings the space offered a forum for discussion of the films shown, and through them explore questions of social and economic concerns. Contributors were Gareth Evans, Sally Potter, Alisa Lebow, John Smith and more.

2010

  • In Wait, Visual essay in Estate: Art, Politics and Social Housing in Britain (Zimmerman, Johansson, Fennell) Myrdle Court Press, 2010.

Selected research outputs