Sarah Viktoria Engman, production still, 2023. All photography: Camilla Topuntoli.

Landscape with Woman and Monument / Landskap med kvinna och monument is a short experimental film, shot in 2022 and 2023, for exhibition from 2024 on. It offers a surrealistic take of contemporary disempowerment and alienation, at a time of crisis in our privatised, deregulated, eternally reconstructed cities. The film imagines the extremes we are forced to resort to when our collective and individual agency is lost. Where – and how – will we live, when we can no longer cling on to our precarious urban existence?

I want to find innovative ways to address specific social and political concerns in experimental, non-documentary film art. I have been researching the relationship between individual citizens and our de-regulated, privatised cities, thinking particularly about the growing housing crisis, and the common frustration with ineffective, corrupt political systems. As our cities have turned into financial instruments that are gamed by global corporations, our stake in them has been eroded. Our ability to address this crisis collectively, to think about it together, or even to understand it, is disappearing.

Production still, 2022

The film is built around a fragmented narrative, spoken by a woman who is played by two different actors (Furat Jari and Sarah Viktoria Engman), in both Swedish and English. Her unsettled story unravels against imagery of the city, which at times can seem both hostile and idyllic. Mixed in, we see small groups of people arriving in the forest with their belongings, and we see the odd structures that they have been building, which don’t look at all like something you could live in. Meanwhile, bureaucrats, developers and artists argue about the placement of ugly ‘public artworks’ in the midst of building sites and new public squares. The city of the film is not a real city, although at times it is uncomfortably recognisable.

Production still, 2022

The script for the film was written in 2021, during the pandemic. Funding for the initial shoot in June and July 2022 was provided by Göteborg Stad, and shooting was completed in June 2023. Cinematography was by Camilla Topuntoli; sound recording by Joe Rowley and Lars Wignell; scenography by Beate Persdotter Løken and Anders Muammar; and the production assistant was Joe Rowley.

A series of medium-format photographs produced during 2020 will accompany the film when it is exhibited. Some details are available here.

Furat Jari, production still, 2023

© Daniel Jewesbury