Jessica Warren

Fine Art, BA (Hons)

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NB. Views and opinions of students in the degree show are their own and do not represent the views of the University.


My art practice is predominantly concerned with the effects of social class in the UK, as I portray undocumented working-class subjects who, historically, are often forgotten. My films capture memory and testimony as a form of preservation. Circadian (2020) is a series of three films that would be displayed as a three-channel video piece that documents a day in the life of three of my immediate my family members, each channel portraying the daily routines of my mother, father and brother. I have filmed one subject per-day, capturing moments that I felt needed to be documented. These biographical portraits capture the intimate lifestyles and social roles of a contemporary working-class family situated in the North-West of England. I use my camera to penetrate life; with no boundaries or constraints on the ‘rules’ of filming. When I film, I am cutting into real life, nothing is staged or set up, nothing is perfect. This approach creates a dynamic view of the everyday, a way to address the idea of life as multifaceted and fragmented. When we think of a memory it is never a singular image. it comprises layers of interpretation, consciousness and forms multifaceted cognitive material. I utilise the editing process to create narratives that aren’t linear, allowing me to visualise the way in which memories crystallise using time-based media.~ I invite my audience to connect with each film in any way they choose, receiving fragments from all three films to create their own interpretation or sequence over time.
I have been heavily influenced by major positions in philosophy on memory, history and time, such as Paul Ricoeur’s theories in ‘Memory, History, forgetting’ in which he connects phenomenology with memory. Phenomenology is the study of lived experience, which Ricoeur considers as he examines how the world is interpreted through human consciousness.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic I have adapted the presentation of this work. I have used the lockdown situation as a stimulus to develop new ideas about documentary film-making, in a way that incorporates the fabric of the place from which the footage originated. Working from the family home, I began visualising the rooms as forms, picking out compositions to play with. I started projecting the footage I had previously captured back into the spaces they were filmed in, which juxtaposed fragmented elements of real life with the flat images of the projections. This process revealed the physicality and multiplicity of the contextual elements investigated in the work further, relating back to how I seek to invite my audience to engage with my work in an ambiguous and fragmented way metaphorically. I began experimenting with what it means to display or create work site specifically through the new methods employed and became interested in how a domestic context is synonymous with the intimacy of the subjects depicted. This adapted process led me to consider how each of the subjects occupy and utilise place.