London premieres of new works by acclaimed essay film-maker Jem Cohen and artist Eelyn Lee, exploring the lives, locales and legends of the Thames Estuary. Followed by a Q&A with Eelyn Lee and a performance by the Trad Academy Sea Shanty Choir.
Set in the netherworld of the Thames Estuary, Creature of the Estuary [22mins/2016] by Eelyn Lee evokes a creature made of fragments of memory and fear. Using verbatim extracts from conversations recorded with residents along the Thames Estuary, Lee has created a poetic script narrated by a fictional coastguard, exploring themes of displacement, migration and change. The work marks the second iteration of Lee’s ‘Monster Trilogy’ and stars BAFTA-winning Anamaria Marinca.
Jem Cohen’s new film project World Without End (no reported incidents) is primarily observational, based on forays around Southend-on-Sea and to Canvey Island. It is of streets, weathers, birds, and of course, water, mud, and sky. It is also of people: for this film he decided to do a series of almost random interviews, expecting that they might be used primarily as research to give him a deeper sense of the landscape. Instead, he was astonished by the subjects – the musicality of their speech, the depths and specificity of their knowledge.
In advance of their weekend festival at Wilton’s Music Hall, The Trad Academy Sea Shanty Choir will both sing live and also show a short film about their work and music.
In association with Metal and the Estuary Festival.
Jem Cohen is a New York-based, filmmaker, photographer, and multi-media artist. He has made over 65 films and his work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.). His feature length projects include Museum Hours, Counting, Chain, Benjamin Smoke, and Instrument. Shorts include Lost Book Found, Anne Truitt – Working, and the Gravity Hill / Occupy Wall Street Newsreels. He’s had retrospectives at London’s Whitechapel Gallery and the Oberhausen, Gijon, and Punto de Vista film festivals. He has collaborated with musicians including Patti Smith, Terry Riley, Fugazi, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Vic Chesnutt, R.E.M., DJ Rupture, Elliott Smith, and the Ex, as well as writer Luc Sante. Cohen’s still photographs have shown at Robert Miller Gallery, University of Michigan Museum of Art, and SF Camerawork. We Have an Anchor, a multimedia documentary with live soundtrack, played on the main stages at London’s Barbican and BAM’s Next Wave series. Cohen was extensively involved in overturning proposed governmental restrictions on street photography/filming in New York City.
Eelyn Lee is an award-winning artist and filmmaker who has shown work at Tate Modern, Whitechapel Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Barbican, Palais de Tokyo and international film festivals.
With a process-driven practice, her diverse collaborators include musicians, actors, poets, animators, filmmakers and photographers. She has received commissions from Barbican, National Portrait Gallery and English National Opera to co-create work with young people. Beneath the Hood, a film portrait of young people excluded from school in Hackney was broadcast on TV and distributed worldwide.
She is currently developing a feature length film to mark the final iteration of her Monster Trilogy, work she has developed through a series of residencies with Metal and with support from Barbican and Arts Council England.
The Trad Academy Sea Shanty Choir is a non-audition community choir based in London, celebrating traditional maritime work songs as well as contemporary songs of the sea. With a repertoire that ranges from tear-jerking ballads to bawdy bangers, capstan shanties to rowing songs, audience participation is always encouraged. With an inclusive ethos, choir members range in age from 18 to 75 and comprise many different nationalities. The choir hopes to inspire audiences and spread the joy of singing working maritime music through their exhilarating live performances. tradacademy.co.uk