Bonnie Camplin b. 1970
Heygate for Life (2011)
Around the time of making this film I was very into my dreams, had been attending a lucid dream workshop, and I was having a lot of apocolyptic nightmares and during the day, very deliberately, I was focussing on the possible and potential circumstances of my own death, but especially focussed on the fact and the moment of my death. And I realised...WHEN I FOCUS ON THE FACT OF MY OWN DEATH EVERYTHING VIBRATES WITH THE POSSIBLILITY OF NOT EXISTING and this profoundly intensifies my sense of being in the present, intensifies my awareness of "now time". This concept of survivalist temporality re-appeared over and over in the dialogue I was sharing with my neighbour John. We both share a Deep-Topographical curiosity and went to investigate the ruins of the Heygate Council Estate in South-East London. The Heygate is a large 70's Brutalist estate which has been condemmed now for more than 3 years, having been sold off by Southwark Council to property developers. What we found there was an amplified materiality. For some reason I remembered a film I had seen years ago about an autistic woman who became deeply aroused in the presence of concrete; which then made me think of the autistic activist Amanda Baggs and how she talks about her own cognitive, cosmic interaction with the matter. so I showed John her film "In My Language" and I would say that the "Heygate for Life" film owes a lot to this Amanda Baggs film.
The Heygate became as a crucible that concentrates our mind in its materials. You will notice in this film a complete absence of "the figure", an absence of protagonist. Instead we summoned an intensely subjective presence between "us" and the Heygate. In observing the Heygate, in loving the Heygate we generated an energetic interaction which we recorded..In other words our combined perception of Heygate weaving in and out of consciousness is a game of " looking and not looking", stimulating and collapsing the wave function at will.
The Heygate Estate could have been seen as, a place of material disintegration, ideological failure, or death, but "Heygate for Life" sees beauty, love, sex, energy, life, the soul, in its Now-ness- in its state of possibility, in a moment without past, or future, anarchic space, un-designated, un-defined. The meaning of it, now generated by the observer, who is the participant, who is the epistemological adventurer, who is the radicalised Cognitarian.. This idea of Franco Berardi's; that is the Cognitive Proletariat, or the knowledge workers, the Cognitariat. I wanted to extend to the anomalous, precarious artist-worker that I call the Epistemological Adventurer.
Since cognition and subjectivity and desire are intimately bound up with the functioning of capitalism, daily life- immediacy is the field of political struggle. What is to be done? as the model is built in the present; from moment to moment? Subjective Emergence Where Theory is Manifest in Practice. The Epistemological Adventurer is produced out of precarity, anomaly, necessity in the midst of their epistemological crisis.
In refusing the role of cultural servant they become the critics, cartographers and utopia makers, whose intellectual work is to show the present as it is, as a construct.
It's interesting to witness the demise of the specialised, legitemised intellectual who previously would have come from the comfortable and privileged class and who always played a crucial role in the production of the class-war propaganda that says, the "other side" has no intellectual agency, no mind. No soul.
And It's interesting to witness the demise of the prescribed concept of "social mobility" as an aspirant notion of, say the poor "escaping" from a council estate and working their way "up" to join the ranks of the middle classes into a new form of psychic slavery called "being middle class". We know that when it comes to ideas, social mobility works both ways, works all ways at once.
In making our film we rejected the model that produced the "aspirant" notion of quality of life. "Heygate for Life" is all about the liberation of psychic space.
If we understand the faculty of Memory as a perceived epistemic access to the past then, is it possible that, in the unconscious we have epistemic access to the Future?
I think this is the meaning of Utopian agency. I think this is what they mean when they say "Take your Dreams as Reality".
"Ten Women Who Use Film" curated by Jennifer Higgie