Sarah Turner


2007, 97′ 00″




Jean Genet described the family as the most destructive cell.

Located somewhere between meditation and dream, Ecology is a film in three parts that fuses an exploration of narrative with Turner’s dedication to formal experimentation to look at the unsettling side of families. While on holiday at an eco-retreat in Majorca, three characters – mother, daughter and son – tell three different stories about the same violent incident. Composed as internal monologues narrated as voice-over, each sequence entraps us within the psyche of a character, reinventing a modernist literary sensibility within a cinematic language that exploits an innovative range of grains and gauges. Whilst referencing a debate on the ethics of the environment, Ecology’s real concern is ideas of psychic re-cycling, the debris that’s passed on and re-circulated amongst people; it takes the three themes of the environment, familial psychic structures and technology as critical sites of crisis and change and insists that we consider them together.

Shot on location in Spain and England on multiple formats including Super 8, stills, DV and mobile phones – technologies that live inside one another as they evolve – the imaging of the film mirrors the characters struggle for stability and consistency.  The three parts of the film can be viewed in any order. The possibility of viewing the sequences in any order (there are six possible permutations and exhibitors determine which version they’ll screen – although onscreen is only presenting one version) confirms the circularity that is at work that denies causality to events or a hierarchy to the media. The stories, like the psyche, like media, incorporate others but also refer us on in an endless chain of suggestion. There is no conceivable resolution, rather we are part of an endless recurrence, a mode of transmission rather than comprehension.

Ecology has six permutations, this version – SHE / I / YOU – is only one of the ways in which this film can be viewed.


Read Janet Harbord’s article ‘The Fragile Relations of Ecology’ about the film here

There is also additional information about the film available on the Cornerhouse website here



Sarah Turner trained at St Martin’s School of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art. She is an artist, filmmaker, writer, curator and academic. Her feature films include Ecology, 97mins, 2007, Perestroika, 118mins, 2009, (currently featured in Tate Britain’s major survey: Assembly), and Perestroika:Reconstructed, conceived and executed as a gallery work (Carroll Fletcher Gallery, London, April/ May 2013). Turner’s short films include Overheated Symphony, UK, 10mins, orchestrated for Birds Eye View Film Festival 2008, Cut, 17 mins, 2001, was broadcast on Channel 4, and A Life in a Day with Helena Goldwater, 20 mins, 1996, and Sheller Shares Her Secret, 8 mins, 1994, both headlined Midnight Underground when they were also broadcast on Channel 4. Sarah has had feature scripts commissioned by the BFI, Film Four Lab and Zephyr Films. Amongst other curatorial projects, Turner produced (with Jon Thomson) the launch programme for Lux Cinema in 1997; Hygiene and Hysteria: The body desired and the body debased, a touring programme of artists’ film and video for Arts Council England and programmes for Tate and the National Film Theatre. Sarah is currently Reader in Fine Art and Director of Research in the School of Music and Fine Art, University of Kent.



Sarah’s new film, Public House, is currently in development with FLAMIN, more information here.

Public House fuses fact and fiction in a multi layered exploration of memory, community and social reinvention. Activated in response to the community takeover of the Ivy House pub, London, SE15, this feature length work for cinemas is a shape shifting genre hybrid that moves from observational document to minimalist opera. Interweaving testament, performance poetry and an innovative soundscape that fuses acousmatic composition and verbatim librettos, the film explores individual and cultural memory and its resonance in shaping social spaces…

More information available from the Public House website here

Public House – Facebook

Public House – Twitter



perestroika:reconstructed, 178 mins, (2013)

This is Not a Pier: For Poetry Beyond Text, 12 mins, (2011)

Perestroika, 118 mins, (2009)

Overheated Symphony: For Birds Eye View Film Festival; 10 mins, (2008)

Ecology , 97 mins, (2007)

London Birds Can’t Fly, 11 mins,  (2003)

CUT, 17 mins,  (2001)

A Life in a Day with Helena Goldwater, 20 mins, (1996)

Sheller Shares her Secret, 8 mins, (1994)

A Tale Part Told, 4 mins, (1991)

One and the other time, 5 mins,  (1990)

She Wanted Green Lawns, 4 mins,  (1989)