I Am A Spy
20 September – 26 September, 2016
“It was only in the twentieth century we needed papers to have an identity. Kafka’s Joseph K scrabbled in his pocket for something better than a bicycle license to prove who he was in the brave new world where official documents separate those who belong from those who are not allowed to belong. The borders of the new nation state offered frames for subterfuge. What happened on one side of the border had to be understood on the other. In the century when we invented aviation, when we invented cinema, in an age when we can move more and see more than any other point in history why have we become so watchful and so performative? I Am A Spy is a film that observes this watchfulness.” Sarah Wood.
Winner of Jury Prize Signes de Nuit, Lisbon, 2015
Jury declaration: “I am a spy brings us to the important question of the future of data and information, through analogies between nature and the machine, freedom and ownership, in the past and in the present.”
Director, Writer and Producer: Sarah Wood
Editor: Lucy Harris
Sarah Wood works with the found object, particularly the still and moving image, as an act of reclamation and re-interrogation. She works mainly with the documentary image to interrogate the relationship between the narrating of history and individual memory. Recently she’s been focusing on the meaning of the archive, in particular the politics of memory, asking not only why some objects are preserved while others are ignored but also why preservation is made at certain historical moments. Wood also work with artists’ film as a curator. With Selina Robertson she co-founded Club des Femmes, a positive female space for the re-examination of ideas through women’s art.
Boat People, 2016
Murmuration x 10, 2015
I Am A Spy, 2014
Three Minute Warning, 2012
For Cultural Purposes Only, 2009
The Angel of History, 2008
The Book of Love, 2008
I Want To Be A Secretary, 2006
Manifesto For Love, 2003
Living Space, 2003
More details here.
“I am writing these notes during a time of war, in a country that’s at war, unofficially. Britain did not declare war on Afghanistan under the Taliban in 2001 or Iraq under Saddam Hussein in 2003. It has not officially declared war on another country since the 1940s. War, it would seem, has shifted from a state of legality to a state of being: a kind of banally ubiquitous constant as Orwell describes above in the fiction of Nineteen Eighty-four… [read more here].” From Sarah Wood’s unpublished artist’s notes on I Am A Spy and other recent works (courtesy The Essay Film Festival).
“For my part, I am concerned with retracing the steps that led to our current visual framing and to express the near-hidden history that used the experience of British birdlife and its habitat as a frame for the way British surveillance has been conducted in the century just past, and how it is still conducted in the 21st century. With its own ironic inversion, this project is also a questioning of how we, as a surveilled society, behave when we ourselves watch the freed-up movement of birds… [read more here].” Sarah Wood (courtesy of Resurgence & Ecologist).