Hacked Game Boys and horseplay! Jarman award shortlist celebrates thinking outside the box

<span> Fluid narratives … a still from The Breaking Story by Sin Wai Kin (2022).</span><span>Photograph: Courtesy the artist</span>
Fluid narratives … a still from The Breaking Story by Sin Wai Kin (2022).Photograph: Courtesy the artist

Whether breaking down binary views of gender or making films guided by Chinese divination text the I Ching, this year’s nominees for the prestigious Film London Jarman award invite viewers to see – and think – differently.

The six-person shortlist for the £10,000 prize, which recognises British artists who work with moving images, includes Larry Achiampong. The British Ghanian’s 2023 work A Letter (Side B) was partly recorded using a hacked Nintendo Game Boy camera, producing pixelated blues, blacks and yellows and a unique perspective on how it feels to be sectioned as a black person. His 2022 film Wayfinder thrives on juxtaposition, as a young woman discusses, among other things, funeral directors and pandemic deaths while strolling through a deserted Dreamland fairground.

Related: ‘My film language? Sega and Nintendo’ – Larry Achiampong brings a gamer’s pizzazz to the gallery

The Jarman award, named after pioneering film-maker Derek Jarman, has earned a reputation for spotting rising talent within the UK art scene. Artists who have been shortlisted during the prize’s 17 years include Heather Phillipson, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Monster Chetwynd, Charlotte Prodger, Laure Prouvost, James Richards, and Project Art Works – all of whom went on to be shortlisted for, or to win, the Turner prize.

Palestinian English artist and 2017 Turner prize nominee, Rosalind Nashashibi has made this year’s list for work both old and new. Denim Sky (2022) was structured according to the ancient Chinese oracle I Ching, yet her hypnotic 2015 film Electrical Gaza – recorded shortly before the Israeli bombardment in the summer of 2014 – is no less relevant to today’s world.

Elsewhere, London-based artist Maeve Brennan’s 2023 film installation With Horses features a newborn foal being tended to by its dying parent in a field strewn with plastic bags, while Maryam Tafakory’s work makes use of found footage and the cinematic traditions of post-revolutionary Iran.

Also on the shortlist are the Toronto-born 2022 Turner nominee Sin Wai Kin and the German-born Melanie Manchot, both of whom are based in London. The former uses drag, facepaint and exotic locations to help viewers embrace fluid narratives around gender – as evidenced in their 2023 work Dreaming the End. The latter’s selected artworks include this year’s feature film Stephen, which focuses on Stephen Giddings, a recovering gambling and alcohol addict from Liverpool, and his audition for a role in a fictional crime film.

The jury, which includes last year’s shortlisted artist Julianknxx, praised the work on show here, describing it as “visually striking and imaginative”. The winner of this year’s award will be announced in late November in London, and a nationwide tour of the artists’ work will visit cultural venues across the UK.



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