Avant-garde anthropological films from S

Artist profile 5

Sam Wood
Sam Wood
Jul 13, 2015 · 4 min read
Still from Unbind, S, 2015

Unbind is a new film/performance piece by S, projected on two screens and shot entirely on Super 8mm film — she edited it in her kitchen using domestic implements, bringing a totally new meaning to the tired sexist cliche of what women do in kitchens.

The film is concerned with our present cultural condition — images of domesticated cattle, religious imagery and mannequins in shop windows flash before you in a dizzying maelstrom of seeming randomness, the images become unified once the narrative of Adam and Eve begins. S uses the religious tableau as an archetype of systemic and historic sexism.

The dual screen shows us the chaotic presence of our shared past (both present and distant) which still haunts our cultural sphere. Like Lazarus, the hegemony which surrounds christian approaches to gender, refuses to die and keeps resurfacing — even years after Nietzsche proclaimed: ‘God is dead’.

The promise of modernism, liberation through technology, seems overstated now. Even if we are all equal in the barrels of a gun, or at the button of factory machinery, it seems instead of making us more equal technology magnified preexisting ideologies and power structures spreading them out thinly within our collective subconscious. Like some unholy ghost waiting to surface.

‘Unbind’ explores the way capitalist patriarchy along with Christianity gradually define and position the female gender within society. The project intends to underline the way, in which power structures infiltrate the environment we inhabit, the images we consume and the exploitation of women in favour of the abstract idea of progress. The two-screen projection can be regarded as a personal critique on cultural norms. As well as an attempt by the artist to raise awareness for gender equality in the Western world as an issue of socio-political character.

The two sequences are shot on Super 8mm film and S collaborated with Edinburgh based musician Tom Pickles for the audio. The two screen projection is screened along with live music in order to achieve a pioneering venture into little known waters for the filmmaker, the musician and the audience alike. The aim is to challenge viewer engagement through the synchrony of visuals and sound yet not to lose the historical context of film form.

— S, 2015

The use of a live musician and super 8 film is also interesting, harking back to the birth of cinema when silent films would often be accompanied with live music. As such S playfully uses a historiographic approach to her art, of the type championed by Foucault. The closing quote of the film reveals it’s radical intention as well as it’s practical suggestion:

Since our reality is no longer theirs, we must establish our own.

— Susan Matasovska, What lesbians do in bed

S’s films show a strong interest in anthropology in her film Mors sceptra ligonibus aequat she focuses on rites and rituals surrounding death in various religions and cultures, interviewing a Buddhist, a Muslim and Anthropologist on their views on the afterlife. Whilst in her film ‘I am real’ (featured bellow) the narrative of an asylum seeker becomes entertained with other narratives of transformation and sexuality. All journeys are a form of metamorphosis.

Born in Athens, Greece S moved to Toronto, Canada at a very young age. Her artistic process began as a child and was influenced by her mother, a visual artist herself. S graduated from Rosedale Heights School Of The Arts in 2005 and proceeded to study photography in IEK AKMH, a private college in Athens. While studying BA (Hons) Photography and Film at Edinburgh Napier University S also works as an art director in Woodland Creatures gallery space and is the coordinator of Motion Creatures; a film night launching in August 2015 as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Where a performance of her film Unbind will be screened.

S uses both film and photography to create experimental works that blur the lines between documentary and fine art practice.

She has exhibited and published work internationally: Stills Gallery, Edinburgh (2013), Africa In Motion Film Festival, Glasgow (2013), Rayko PhotoCentre, San Francisco (2014),Summerhall, Edinburgh (2015), Free Range, London (2015)

You can see more of her work here:

poor art*

Uncharted; Art, Writing and Photography.

Sam Wood

Written by

Sam Wood


poor art*

poor art*

Uncharted; Art, Writing and Photography.

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