The Scar

Sarah Perks (Curator)

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

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Through The Scar, Perks demonstrates new understanding of multi-vocal representation in relational curatorial strategy for exhibitions and new knowledge of audience dissemination through multi-format commissions. ​

Perks uses her expertise in cultural and film studies, including contemporary theories of feminism (Power, 2009; Ngozi Adichie, 2014), race (Hooks, 1992) and gender (Butler, 1990), alongside feminism in film genre studies (Rich, 1998; Creed, 1993; Greven, 2011), to develop new knowledge in curatorial practice, expanding on work by Bourriaud (1998), O’Neill (2010; 2012) and from museum studies (Sandell 2007; 2013). ​

Four workshops were held in London and Istanbul with invited scholars, actors and writers, including novelist Birgül Oguz and actor Khalid Abdalla, to discuss key theoretical texts (Caliban and the Witch, Federici, 1998), consider conventions of film noir, gangster genre (Mulvey, 1975; Kaplan, 1998) and to test methods of both writing and presenting female resistance and solidarity whilst conventional film priorities the ‘male gaze’ and perspective.​

This research demonstrated how a historical moment can be re-presented to create a dialogue on state-sanctioned patriarchal violence. Perks’ relational curatorial strategy is articulated through the formal curatorial design: the exhibition asked the audience to move across three distinct areas (fully accessible) – two separate single-channel experimental genre representations of the car crash and then the three-screen ‘finale’ gender revolution. Audience feedback recognised new models of female-led activism post-2017’s Women's Marches. ​

Perks’ research with The Scar also further investigates new models for artist film distribution and exhibition, across both gallery and cinema (Connolly, 2009; Balsom, 2014; Elwes, 2015). Creating both a feature film version (premiered at BFI London Film Festival) and a multi-channel gallery installation (as opposed to a single version that operates the same in both spaces), this intervention into curatorial and artistic processes increases audience reach considerably and sets industry precedent.

The Scar first took place at HOME, Manchester, and then travelled to Delfina Foundation, London and Edith-Russ Haus, Oldenburg, Germany. The new commission was created through an international partnership led by Perks between, FLAMIN (Film London), HOME, University of Salford Art Collection, Spectre Productions, Delfina Foundation, Centre National des Arts Plastiques (France), Edith-Russ-Haus and Àngels (Barcelona). ​

The exhibition’s solo artists were Noor Afshan Mirza and Brad Butler, who have been shortlisted for the Artes Mundi and Jarman Award and received a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists (2015). The newly commissioned work was both a multi-channel installation titled The Scar and a feature film titled Ruptures, with additional sculptural pieces.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2018


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