Reader in Time Based Media and Performance
University of the Arts London
BiographyJennet Thomas makes films, performances and installations. She creates absurdist worlds that confound straightforward readings, in the form of sci-fi folk tales, musicals and unreliable lectures.
Her work currently explores how humans deal with their sense of impending doom. She mines the connections between fantasy, ideology and the everyday, using DIY making methods as a form of resistance to the gloss of consumer capitalism.
Using a collision of genres, her work can look like T.V. news, experimental film, children's drama, or performance art behaviors, and aims to be as unsettling as it is entertaining. Her longer-form film works involve characters with elaborate costumes and props in scenarios that are clearly outlandish, yet resonate with multiple layers of meaning. The found object and the constraints of rhyme are important mechanisms in her practice, particularly in the way in which unexpected meanings are generated.
Her work shows in galleries often as large-scale sculptural installations that physically surround the film, sometimes with continuous live performance. Recent solo shows include THE GREAT CURDLING (Whitstable Biennial 2022) ANIMAL CONDENSED>ANIMAL EXPANDED (Tintype, London 2018) THE UNSPEAKABLE FREEDOM DEVICE (Grundy Gallery, 2015) She has had two major solo installation shows at Matt's Gallery, London. Her works also screen at film festivals, including IFF Rotterdam, European Media Arts Festival, New York Underground Film Festival, and museums such as Tate Britain and MOMA New York. In 2015 her experimental fiction book, THE UNSPEAKABLE FREEDOM DEVICE was published by Book Works, a parallel project to the film of the same name.
She is currently Reader in Time Based Media and Performance at University of the Arts, London and was a founder member of the Exploding Cinema collective in the 1990’s, whose anarchistic, experimental film shows were generative of London’s vital grass-roots film/live art scene.