Past Screenings

Sarah Wood

Sarah Wood

I Am A Spy

2014, 23′

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.


Athos, 2016

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

Surrender, 2005

Manifesto For Love, 2003

Living Space, 2003

More details here.




Sarah Wood’s website

BFI article discussing I Am A Spy, Three Minute Warning and Murmuration x 10

“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).




Interviews with Feminist Porn Filmmakers

Lora Hristova

Interviews with Feminist Porn Filmmakers

2015, colour, sound, 27′

19 July – 25 July 2016



Interviews with Feminist Porn Film-makers is the final film in Carroll / Fletcher Onscreen’s Young Film-makers season – Holly Antrum, Margaret Haines, Lora Hristova, Cristina Picci, Lucy Parker and Jessica Sarah Rinland.  Filmed during the 2014 Berlin Porn Film Festival, Interviews with Feminist Porn Film-makers takes an impartial look at the motivations behind the work of ten porn film-makers  – Maria Bala, Pandora Blake, Lucie Blush, Alyx Fox, Audrey Fox, Shine Louise Houston, Jiz Lee, Petra Joy, Yvette Luhrs and Ms Naughty.



Lora Hristova (b.1987 Sliven, Bulgaria) works across mediums including video, text and collage to explore ideas around identity and human sexuality. Feminist theory and psychoanalysis inform her research into universal experiences of shame and desire. Much of her past work has appropriated from mainstream pornography and considers the cultural, psychological and social impact of the sex industry. In July 2013 she led a reading group called ‘The Price of Sex’ at Carroll/Fletcher gallery which discussed sexual politics, prostitution and human trafficking. After graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2009 she has exhibited across Europe and was invited to a solo show at The Zabludowicz Collection as part of their emerging artists ‘Invites’ programme. She was also part of ‘Feminist Practices in Dialogue’ exhibition at the ICA in London in 2016. Recently she has shown her work in the context of porn film festivals, with ‘Mouth Piece’ being nominated for the Short Film Competition at PornFilmFestival Berlin 2015 and ‘Feminist Porn Filmmakers’ winning Best Documentary Short at Cinekink 2016, New York. Her work is part of The University of the Arts Collection, The Zabludowicz Collection and private collections in London including those of Les Mes and Tracey Emin.

Artist website:

Artist’s research archive:

Artist’s cv:



Produced & Directed by: Lora Hristova
Filmed by: Lora Hristova & Kit Oates
Featuring footage from: Blue Artichoke Films, Blush Media, Bright Desire, Dreams of Spanking, DUSKTV!, Foxhouse Films, Pink & White Productions, Toytool Commitee
Music: “Unconquered Lands” written and performed by Natasha Gilbert, Produced by James Routh, “Cling to You” by Bear Beats & Stray Dog
Filmed on Location at: PornFilmFestival Berlin 2014, Kino Moviemento

Why Do Porn Films Suck?, Petra van Brabant and Jesse Prinz

“When an item created using a traditional art medium incites strong emotions in us, that indicates, all else equal, that it is an artwork, and, indeed a good one. The capacity to arouse strong feelings is generally regarded as a mark of artistic achievement. Pornography is arguable more effective in inducting strong feelings than almost anything lining the walls of a typical museum. Pornography might even be said to elicit wonder, fear, and exhilaration. Its raw carnality takes us out of our comfort zones. It thrills, excites, and surprises. If these emotions are a strong indicator of the artistic, we should be disposed as well to see pornography as art. In fact, we should regard porn as good art, since it is extremely evocative.” (p.165)
“The offensiveness of porn stems from the fact that most of it is still produced for male consumption, and, in a male dominant society, that often involves depicting women in demeaning and objectifying ways. In addition, the production of typical porn often involves the subjugation of women, and consumption of it may cause societal harm by promoting harassment, domination, and violence.” (p.176)
“We have suggested that there is a double dissociation: an absence of artistic pretention in porn films, but also a neglect of pornography in art films. This is perhaps regrettable. The exploration of the artistic or aesthetic dimensions of a screening of sexual experiences can enrich or make our sexual gratification more complex. The result could be more layered sexual gratification.” (p.184)
“Standard pornography is excruciatingly formulaic. It has no more invention than the scratching gesture we use to remedy a passing itch. A good porn director, like a good lover, breaks from routine sexuality… adding emotional complexity, imposing a distinctive style, and violating genre conventions.” (p.184)
“Artistic porn is less morally problematic that conventional porn. First of all, it gives voice to sexualities that have been deemed deviant and silenced. Second, it would be less objectifying for performers… those involved can see themselves as part of the creative process rather than as a mere means to gratification. Third, to the extent that viewing conventional pornography promotes mistreatment of women, viewing art porn might help promote more progressive attitudes, by, for example, reversing traditional gender roles or otherwise complicated gender dichotomies that fuel patriarchy.” (p.188)
“We think the intersection of art film and pornography is underexplored, and that art and porn could be mutually reinforcing. The creativity associated with art could make sexual content more exciting and affecting, and the transgressive carnality of pornography could amplify artistic intensity and impact.” (p.189)

Carroll / Fletcher @ Close-Up Cinema – Sex: Work & Play

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 11.54.55 1 (1)

Image courtesy of Melanie Bonajo and AKINCI Amsterdam

Interviews with Feminist Porn Filmmakers was screened as part of Sex: Work & Play at Close-UP Cinema on 12 July.

Night Soil: Economy of Love, Melanie Bonajo, 2015, 33′

The second film in Boanjo’s Night Soil trilogy, Night Soil: Economy of Love portrays a Brooklyn-based movement of female sex workers who regard their work as a way for women to reclaim power in a male-dominated pleasure zone, their mission being to rearrange sexual conventions and ideas about intimacy itself. In the Night Soil trilogy, Bonajo documents phenomena that exist outside of, and act against global capitalism, and that suggest alternative, currently illegal, ethical models. The first film in the series, Night Soil: Fake Paradise, explores the therapeutic potential of the psychedelic plant ayahuasca. The third film, currently in production, Night Soil: Nocturnal Gardening questions the role of radical agriculture in a world of dwindling natural resources.

Horny Lil Feminist, Ann Hirsch, 2015, 10′

A series of five short films, “[to the Star Trek theme tune] Art, the final frontier, these are the voyages of the horny lil feminist, my continuing mission to explore internet feminisms, to break down existing stereotypes by suggesting new modes of representation, to boldly go where no horny little feminist has gone before…” Ann Hirsch.

Interviews with Feminist Porn Film-makers, Lore Hristova, 2015, 27′

Filmed during the 2014 Berlin Porn Film Festival, Interviews with Feminist Porn Film-makers takes an impartial look at the motivations behind the work of five porn film-makers  – Pandora Blake, Lucie Blush, Audrey Fox, Jiz Lee and Ms Naughty.

Followed by a discussion between:

– Lora Hristova (artist);

– Petra van Brabandt (philosopher);

– Stacey Clare (the Ethical Stripper)

Melanie Bonajo

“Melanie Bonajo is an artist working with performance, installations, music and photography. Her works address themes of eroding intimacy and isolation in an increasingly sterile, technological world. Her experimental documentaries often explore communities living or working on the margins of society, either through illegal means or cultural exclusion. Her work has been exhibited and screened internationally, from De Appel Arts Centre and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam to the Center for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, the Moscow Biennial, the Berlinale, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and Treefort Film Festival.” Courtesy Wikipedia.

Ann Hirsch

“Ann Hirsch is a video and performance artist, who examines the influence of technology on popular culture and gender. Her immersive research has included becoming a YouTube camwhore with over two million video views and an appearance as a contestant on Frank the Entertainer…In a Basement Affair on Vh1. She was awarded a Rhizome commission for her two-person play Playground, which debuted in the US at New Museum and in the UK at South London Gallery. Recent solo shows include MIT List Visual Arts Center and the New Museum’s online project space First Look.” From

Stacey Clare

“Stacey has been stripping for almost a decade, and has mastered the art of pole dancing. Before stripping, Stacey was a political rebel fighting for social justice and experiencing every protest/direct action as a performance. Her anarchist roots have led her to apply her political views to her choice of work. She believes that stripping is legitimate work and deserves to be regulated and protected as such. She is tirelessly campaigning with the ELSC to challenge stigma and stereotypes about strippers, and to start empowering dancers by bringing them together to self-organise and create their own working conditions.” From

TED Talk:

Petra van Brabandt

Petra Van Brabandt currently teaches care ethics at Ghent University and semiotics, art theory and cultural criticism at St Lucas School of Art and Design, Antwerp. Her research interests are in social and moral philosophy, David Hume, feminist philosophy, art and society, and art and pornography. She writes on David Hume’s ‘A Dialogue’, care ethics, pornographic art, narrativity in art and female artists. Van Brabandt co-wrote with Jesse Prinz Why do porn films suck? in Art and Pornography, OUP, 2012.


Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme

Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme

The Incidental Insurgents, Part 1: The Part About the Bandits, Chapter 2

2012, 6′, HDV, single channel video and two channel sound plus sub-woofer

13 June – 20 June 2016


This week, Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme premiere at Art Basel (Hall 2.1, Booth N2) the first works in a new body of research entitled And Yet My Mask is Powerful – a multi-media project that engages with the idea of ‘returns’ to sites of wreckage.  For a young generation of Palestinians, these are the very sites from which to conjure a yet-to-be realised chapter in history.  A fuller version of And Yet My Mask is Powerful will be presented in the artists’ first major solo show at Carroll / Fletcher in September 2016.  The film programme at Art Basel includes The Incidental Insurgents, Part 2: Unforgiving Years.  The Incidental Insurgents is made up of three parts: Part 1, The Part About Bandits (2012), Part 2, Unforgiving Years (2014) and Part 3, When the fall of the dictionary leaves all words lying in the street (2015).

The Incidental Insurgents

We are believing and dis-believing
We are in the midst of the not yet material
or perhaps the already determined
inhabiting a time of radical potentiality and its collapse
In search of a new language
in need of this
always on the verge
always becoming and yet…

The Incidental Insurgents is mapped out as a three part multi-layered narrative, with chapters completing and complicating each other, and unfolding the ‘story’ of a contemporary search for a new ‘political’ language and imaginary. Multiple texts and fragments, largely the writings of Victor Serge and Roberto Bolano, alongside manifestos, memoirs, testimonies, and text written by the artists, are sampled and re-pieced together to form an altogether new script. As the project unfolds and the search continues, new threads emerge that take us into expected and unexpected places, deadly serious and deadly playful all at once. Contributing to a growing density of material, where the figure of the incidental insurgent, part bandit, rebel, part vagabond, artist, returns and resurges in many forms and characters. Recast into a convoluted script of sampled text, images, objects and sounds.

Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, The Incidental Insurgents (2012- ongoing), Chapter 2, Video Still 9

The Part about The Bandits, begins with four seemingly disparate coordinates, the early anarchist life of Victor Serge and his contemporary anarchist-bandits in 1910’s Paris; Abu Jildeh and Arameet and their bandit gang involved in a rebellion against the British in 1930’s Palestine, the artist as the quintessential bandit in Roberto Bolaño’s novel The Savage Detectives set in 70’s Mexico, and the artists themselves in present day Palestine. Weaving the first part of the story by looking at the resonance between the inspiring, bizarre and sometimes tragic stories of these diverse bandits, the outsider rebel par excellence, often rewritten as mere criminals (or naively romanticised as wayward figures) and excluded from the narrative of revolutionary struggle. Ironically these figures most clearly articulate the incompleteness and inadequacies in existing oppositional movements political language and imaginary. Often desperately searching for a language able to give form to their impulse for more radical forms of action.

Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, The Incidental Insurgents (2012- ongoing), Chapter 2, Video Still 6

Unforgiving Years, the second part of the story, traces the metamorphosis of these incidental figures (Serge, Bolaño, the artist themselves) or the resonance of their final gestures years after they have been killed (Bonnot Gang, Abu Jilda), following the figures or their echo to strange places and obscure positions. Arriving at a vanguard political publishing house in 1970’s Jerusalem. Perhaps it is here that the trace of Abu Jildeh, dead then for 40 years, returns.

Where the first part of the story expresses the impulse for more radical forms of action, the characters urgent need to overcome their unbearable living conditions, the second part partially looks at what happens when these gestures are unfulfilled, for those who are not killed, somehow left behind. At the same time, it unfolds a recurrent impulse to refuse the seeming ‘permanence’ of a capitalist-colonial present, that though defeated at multiple moments continues to resurge and return. Unforgiving Years is about things lost and others glimpsed in the wreckage, about what can be conjured into being from the ashes.   A victory in defeat. A provocation to rethink the seemingly un-imaginable.

“Then they would reshuffle the pieces of this story and talk to me about those shadowy figures, those occasional brothers and sisters -in-arms, the ghosts populating their vast freedom, their vast desolation”.

Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, The Incidental Insurgents (2012- ongoing), Chapter 2, Video Still 3

In the last part of the search When the fall of the dictionary leaves all words lying in the street (2015), obsession gives way to hallucination. Times, places and characters recede leaving only the impulse towards that unfulfilled desire for a radically different way of being.   We are somehow in the folds and density of moments, recaptured, retrieved and made anew, embodying all the characters and situations we have lived vicariously. That is to say embodying all times.

“This was a daydream, Vaneigem cheerfully admitted – but “daydreaming subverts the world”. When this free field was finally opened by the noise of the exploding syntax, when the fall of the dictionary left all words lying in the streets, when men and women rushed to pick them up and make pictures out of them, such day dreams would find themselves empowered turning into catalysts for new passions, new acts, new events: situations, made to be lived by their creators a whole new way of being in the world”

A multi-channel sound piece is the main pulse of the final chapter, with 4 screens playing intermittently and creating a choreography of movement and pauses, synchronisation and disjuncture. Elusive traces, objects and material from this hallucinatory search appear in the space between the screen, as though they are another code we are meant to decipher, a broken syntax to be reassembled, an unfinished map. The beginning of a daydream, one that could subvert the world as the Situationist would have said.

The Incidental Insurgents is meant as an investigation into the possibilities for the future rather then the past, where a convoluted story situated in multiple times starts to emerge. Initiating an obsessive search to figure out how we, like the incidental figures before us, find ourselves inhabiting a moment full of radical potential and disillusionment. Searching for what we cannot yet see but feel is possible.

Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, The Incidental Insurgents (2012- ongoing), Chapter 2, Video Still 5

Part 1: The Part About the Bandits, Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Installation: documents, images, personal items, desks, chairs, table, stools, office cabinet, storage boxes, speakers, two record players, vinyls, sound of vinyl crackle, desktop computer with 35’51” video on loop.

Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, The Incidental Insurgents, The Part About the Bandits, Istanbul, Installation View 1

Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, The Incidental Insurgents, The Part About the Bandits, Istanbul, Installation View 3

Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, The Incidental Insurgents, The Part About the Bandits, Istanbul, Installation View 4


Basel Abbas (b. 1983, Nicosia, Cyprus) and Ruanne Abou-Rahme (b. 1983, Boston, US) live and work between New York and Ramallah. They are the 2016 recipients of the Abraaj Art Prize. Solo exhibitions include ICA, Philadelphia, USA (2015); OCA, Oslo, Norway (2015); AKW, Cologne, Germany (2014); and New Art Exchange, Nottingham, UK (2011). Selected group exhibitions include the 12th Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah, UAE (Recipients of the Sharjah Biennial Prize, 2015); 10th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, Korea (2014) and 31st Sao Paulo Biennial, Sao Paulo, Brazil (2014).

Their work has been collected by some of the world’s leading institutions and foundations including the Koç Foundation, the Sharjah Art Foundation and Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary.

Extracts from A Working Glossary

Mythology (Counter)

We are, I am, you are

by cowardice or courage

the ones who find our way

back to this scene

carrying a knife, a camera

a book of myths

in which

our names do not appear.

– Adrienne Rich, Diving Into the Wreck

If we are always named by others, then the name signifies a certain dispossession from the start.  If we seek to name ourselves, it is still within a language we never made.  And if we ask to be called by another name, we are in some ways dependent on thos we petition to agree to our demand.  There seems to be an overdetermination of the social at the site of the name, so however particularistic we want the name to be, it exceeds us and confounds us.  Naming is not only a site of trauma, but also potentially a strategy of subversive mimesis.  At the site of the name, tragedy cannot be willed away, but it can certainly be embodied differently.

– Judith Butler and Athena Athanasiou, Dispossession: The Performative in the Political


For months there was nothing to see but dried-up desert; who could guess that beneath the calcined ground, millions of invincible seeds were concealed, ready to germinate.

– Victor Serge, Unforgiving Years

This was a daydream, Vaneigem cheerfully admitted – but ‘daydreaming subverts the world’.  When this free field was finally opened by the noise of exploding syntax, when the fall of the dictionary left all words lying in the streets, when men and women rushed to pick them up and make pictures out of them, such day dreams would find themselves empowered turning into catalysts for new passions, new acts, new events: situations made to be lived by their creators a whole new way of being in the world.  And this would be a history not of great men or of the monuments they has left behind but a history of moments, the sort of moments everyone once passed through without consciousness and that, now, everyone would consciously create.

  • Greil Marcus, Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century 

From Oh Shining Star Testify, Basel Abbas & Ruanne Abou-Rahme, 2016 (the publication that accompanied The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2016).

A Few Notes

Intifada is usually translated as ‘uprising’; perhaps, more literally ‘shaking off’.

“Victor Lvovich Khibalchich (better known as Victor Serge) was born in Brussels, the son of Russian Narodnik exiles. Originally an anarchist, he joined the Russian Communist Party on arriving in Petrograd in February 1919 and worked for the newly founded Communist International as a journalist, editor and translator. As a Comintern representative in Germany he helped prepare the aborted insurrection in the autumn of 1923. In 1923 he also joined the Left Opposition. He was expelled from the party in 1928 and briefly imprisoned. At this time he turned to writing fiction, which was published mainly in France. In 1933 he was arrested and exiled. After an international campaign he was eventually deported from Russia in April 1936 on the eve of the Moscow Show Trials. Upon arrival in the West he renewed contact with Trotsky but political differences developed and a bitter controversy developed between the two remaining veterans of the pre-Stalinist Russian Communist Party. Escaping from Paris in 1940 just ahead of the invading Nazi troops he found refuge in Mexico. During his last years Serge lived in isolation and died penniless shortly after the 30th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution in November 1947.” Source: Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Between 1912 and 1917, Serge was incarcerated in French penitentiaries:  “Everything in this book is fictional and everything is true. I have attempted, through literary creation, to bring out the general meaning and human content of a personal experience.” Victor Serge in the epigraph to Men in Prison.


From The Coming Insurrection, The Invisible Committee (a text included in Incidental Insurgents, Pt. 2: Unforgiving Years, Chapter 4).