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Perestroika : Reconstructed

Turner, Sarah E. (2013) Perestroika : Reconstructed. Arts council of England, Film London Film. 180 mins. Blu-ray/DVD.. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:31933)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)


Perestroika: Reconstructed shares thematic and aesthetic ground with my critically acclaimed film, Perestroika, but here the work will be developed, remixed and extended into two sequences which significantly develop both the conceptual canvas and the theatrical exhibition of the work: here the re-enactment itself becomes performative, both the text and the con-text of the work.

Perestroika: Reconstructed is a ghost story that explores what we forget and how we remember. Part document, part dream, the work will be composed of two sequences and imagery in both is limited to views from the window of the Trans Siberian train. Both sequences culminate at the haunting expanse of lake Baikal producing two very different responses; - one horror, the other tranquility.

The work exploits tropes of documentary and autobiography in order to explore the idea that memory is a narrative response to affectual spaces; the experience of memory is always determined by the affectual filter of now as much as then. The journey to Siberia is as much a psychic voyage as a geographical one - the difference between place and its image in memory; between here and there, or between experienced physical space and imagined space. Essentially, the projective experience of cinema.

The cinematic precedent here is Apitchpong Weerasethakul’s Syndromes and a Century (2006). As in Syndromes and a Century, the two sequences in Perestroika: Reconstructed are connected through echoes and correspondences and the whole works as a further working of memory's mutations. Both sequences conclude at Lake Baikal and this is the main conceptual axis. Our first experience of the lake is terror/apocalypse, the second, an experience of beauty/tranquility, but now, critically, that experience is something that only exists in memory, it's the 'real' that we no longer have access to as our 're-experience' of the water is 'contaminated' by the affectual knowledge of our initial encounter. Whilst one reading between the two sequences suggests that memory is a construct, the truth of a moment or an event contingent on whichever narrative is framing it, another reading suggests an explicit environmental allegory. This is ultimately where the audience is left; the function and relationship between the two sequences is that an uncontaminated experience of landscape is now literally and metaphorically something that exists only in memory.

The context of Perestroika: Reconstructed is a re-enactment, and this is where, as a cultural artefact, the experience is valuable, as we cannot re – experience landscape without ‘contaminated’ knowledge. But the wider re-enactment, of the film itself, the memory of the film itself - now reconstructed and re-enacted - is a whole new cinematic experience, which, arguably, creates a new paradigm for film viewing. Within the gallery, through multiples and series, the knowledge we bring to and of work already seen is open ended; the experience of the work is always an ongoing evolution of a wider idea. With Perestroika: Reconstructed, the re-experience of the work is crucial to the idea of the uncanny return - enacted within the content - but its formal innovation is to locate the experience within the immersive space of theatrical exhibition. Here, form stages the theme through twinning the instability of the environment with the instability of memory and re-enacting that within the cinematic experience.

Item Type: Visual media
Subjects: N Visual Arts > N Visual arts (General). For photography, see TR
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
Depositing User: Sarah Turner
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2012 11:20 UTC
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2021 10:22 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Turner, Sarah E..

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