No New Normal: Absurdity of Labour, Monitored & Alt Worlds

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Earth Mother, Sky Father, dir. by Kordae Jatafa Henry


Not really though, but while everyone in makeshift office set-ups at home, navigating family, flatmates and/or loneliness, will have had a hard time over the last year, it is nothing compared to the many who were forced to go into work in unsafe conditions due to the UK government’s failures and warped priorities, or those who were in precarious positions and made redundant in the middle of a global health crisis. While concerns around workers’ rights and work-life balance were high before this pandemic, the current maelstrom made many pause to reflect on their own conditions, employment practices, responsibilities and care for others, while those without the luxury to do so were often risking their own wellbeing.

In response to the above, we present Absurdity of Labour, with the first three films dealing with ideas of competition, productivity, control and environment, from Adrian Melis’ “production process based on destruction” in Surplus Production Line to a look at the history of the office cubicle and the insidiousness of work spaces as designed with control and anonymity in mind. The latter three films look at non-traditional ideas of labour, creation and production, in relation to value, consumption and the digital sphere, touching on domestic vloggers in Gabrielle Stemmer’s desktop doc Clean With Me (After Dark) as well as a satirical critique of slacktivism and a portrait of copyist painters in Shenzhen, China.

No New Normal: Absurdity of Labour

Available on demand for the duration of the festival

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Shānzhài Screens, dir. by Paul Heintz

Speaking of the digital sphere, the last year has resulted in near-uninterrupted screen time for most of us working from home. Glued to our monitors, mobiles, and televisions, we have often been unable to distinguish where work ends and free time begins, while trying to make up for a lack of social contact by finding perceived connections on our feeds. Our digital footprints grew larger and the pandemic went hand in hand with a drastic increase in digital surveillance. And so we present Monitored, a programme that gives you a self-aware comedic drone in Fly Away With Me (Maude Maton, Amina Mohamed, Nikki Shaffeeullah), meditations on social and information control mechanisms in Stefan Kruse Jørgensen’s A Lack of Clarity and Maxime Martinot’s Antelopes, and the peculiarity of finding fact through fiction in a totalitarian society in Maija Blåfield’s half-hour documentary The Fantastic.

No New Normal: Monitored

Available on demand for the duration of the festival

Finally, we ourselves use sci-fi to find truths and potential, and modestly deal with our desires to escape. In Alt Worlds  we offer reimaginings of and speculations on a future earth and other worlds; from the romantic Vonnegut inversion of Jacqueline Lentzou’s The End of Suffering to the Shabazz Palaces-scored Afrofuturism of Kordae Jatafa Henry’s Earth Mother, Sky Father. Find an amusing alien excursion told through collage animation, as well as a sci-fi love triangle musical by GSFF favourite Jennifer Reeder; and, in a centrepiece that proved essential to the shaping of this entire strand, Graeme Arnfield’s The Phantom Menace is an ambitious, experimental 36-minute speculative climate fiction largely constructed from computer-generated visuals – ideal for laptop viewing… 

Sanne Jehoul

No New Normal: Alt Worlds

Available on demand for the duration of the festival