Jemma Cullen

As an artist moving to Margate to participate in the Associates Programme at Open School East, it was very important to think about the impact such big changes are having on a community like this. The filmmaking project with East Kent Mencap was created in an effort to remove some of the barriers to creative participation.

Having learned that the GOLD group at East Kent Mencap hadn’t yet been to any Open School East public events or workshops, Anna Colin (OSE Director) and I met with the group to find out what might be stopping them. The views of the group echoed reservations I have also held about entering ‘art world’ spaces. We learned of social barriers as well as practical concerns about physical accessibility. We realised that challenges faced by those with neurodivergent conditions, poor mental health and learning difficulties would require an approach placing their needs as our top priority.

This wonderful and anarchic film is the result of a 14-week filmmaking course ran in the summer of 2019. Created through a series of improvisation sessions, the group wrote, directed, acted in and designed the main feature. The ‘making of’ was assembled from footage shot by the group during the filmmaking process.

During my time as an associate, my own work has largely been concerned with ‘the return of the repressed’. Using psychoanalytic models to view what’s happening at a global level, viewing the world as the giant connected organism it actually is. I’m particularly interested in John Bowlby’s family systems model, the idea of the ‘exile’ which haunts us until we attend to its needs. Also the idea that all behaviour is communication. I played an exile living in the upside down where infinite possibilities still exist, an apparition caught on surveillance cameras, trying to harness light and sound waves we share to made contact with a lost future, to warn the population to turn back, that the end of the world has already happened.

*taps on the glass from inside television set*