Reader: Andrea Luka Zimmerman
To mark our new Readers, we hear more about their research plans. Here, Andrea Luka Zimmerman, Reader and Lecturer in the Performance programme, talks about access to artists' films and the need for new narrative structures in film.
Congratulations on becoming a Reader. What will be your particular research focus?
I just completed my Artangel commission Here for Life in collaboration with Adrian Jackson. So the coming months will include a social engagement programme to reach a multitude of communities, especially those that are marginalised by social, cultural and economic forces.
My future projects include two feature-length works. The first, Wayfaring Stranger, maps an allegorical narrative of post-traumatic recovery onto the edge-lands of England, Wales and Scotland. The second, as yet untitled, explores autobiographical and family histories across Europe and beyond.
I am energised by having to think through and deliver positive change, especially around difference – be it class, race, gender, neurodiversity and so on. I am working with my colleagues to support a feminist and decolonised approach to learning, teaching and practice.
In terms of your research: why this and why now?
Advocacy, mentoring and teaching are central to how I think about my larger practice. I consider the relationship between practice, research and teaching to be a dynamic and interwoven one. My guidance is only as relevant to my students as my work is to the times in which we live.
Monoform filmmaking places all experience into the same shape of delivery (news, drama, genre, etc.), and therefore reduces these experiences to digestible outputs.
I am a long-term advocate for non-monoform practice, seeking forms that hold the full complexity of human experience.
We need new narrative structures developed with the concerns of the specific subject under investigation; where subjectivities can be shared and creatively complicated. Waywardness should be able to exist alongside precise attention: both are part of the same practice that holds tenderness as a process, as a politically-engaged poetics, one that acknowledges needs beyond our own. This creative, collaborative restlessness is, I hope, what makes my research relevant to the needs of the day.
If you could change one thing about the way your discipline is viewed what would that be?
Artists’ film can be seen as rarefied, which of course at times is true, but this is also simply due to the fact that there are not enough ways to encounter it. As a child growing up on a council estate, I watched a tiny black and white TV and saw remarkable films and artworks as part of public broadcasting such as the Viennese Actionists or Andrei Tarkovsky. It felt like I had a right to this expression too.
This is not the case now, where divisions are wider than ever. One of the problems, of course, is that works are often made by those in privilege and therefore many have a similar undertone that is excluding by the sheer inequality of output. There are too few voices that challenge that.
What one question would you most like to find the answer to?
How can we find a structure in the art school whereby people no longer feel they have to manoeuvre in order to get seen, heard and acknowledged?