Delfina Foundation presents the London premiere of The Scar, a fiction film installation by London and Istanbul based artists Noor Afshan Mirza and Brad Butler.
The Scar is a film in three chapters (The State of the State, The Mouth of the Shark and The Gossip), inspired by a true event with names, scenes and locations having been fictionalised through the use of Magical Realism. In chapter one, we see four passengers on a journey in a black Mercedes, unaware of their significance as state archetypes: the Chief of Police, a politician and a right-wing assassin. The fourth passenger is Yenge, the only female traveller, silenced by the genre conventions of her role in the film. In chapter two, Yenge’s noir voiceover begins to interrupt the male characters’ forced bravado as they are haunted by the Resistant Dead – the residual movements created from stories of people refusing to be forgotten. The film’s final part, The Gossip, addresses tales of female emancipation and empowerment, where a group of female activists transcend time, geographical borders and linguistic barriers to gather in a neutral nether-realm of conversation and mutual support.
Mirza and Butler’s practice takes on, and deconstructs, urgent and complex narratives around our relationship to state power as seen in The Scar, which engages with issues of inequality and corruption, ultimately proposing a post-patriarchal near future.
The Scar, which began development whilst Mirza and Butler were artists in residence at Delfina Foundation in 2015, will be shown as an immersive five-screen installation at Delfina Foundation. The exhibition is shown alongside an associated programme of workshops, talks and performances, co-curated with Mirza and Butler, which imagines future feminism and its relation to the past and to the present.
“Inhaling patriarchy and exhaling wo(fem)inism, The Scar has definitely been the most ambitious, challenging and inspiring project for me as an artist.”
– Noor Afshan Mirza
Noor Afshan Mirza and Brad Butler
Noor Afshan Mirza and Brad Butler, founders of the London-based centre for artist film production, no.w.here, create work which spans the moving image, installation, sound, text and performed actions. Their practice explores themes of resistance, inequality, power and privilege, and (non) participation. They are interested in art that questions the deep state, unreliable narration and the ectoplasm of neoliberalism, while investigating the use of women’s bodies as sites of resistance. Differentiating between work made ‘in’ struggle and work made about struggle, they use an expanded notion of body politics stretching from irrational and non-verbal knowing to how resistance is inscribed in the body and how the body memorises traumatic experience. Noor and Brad are well-known for their fictional construct The Museum of Non Participation (2008-2016), which interrogated the synergies of politics and art. Past exhibitions include installations at The Sydney Biennale (2016); Hayward Gallery, London (2015); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2015); Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis (2013); and Performa 13, New York (2013). They are recipients of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Visual Artists 2015 and were nominated for Artes Mundi 6 (2014), a prize dedicated to visual arts engaging with the human condition. Noor and Brad live between London and Istanbul.The Scar by Noor Afshan Mirza and Brad Butler. Installation view at Delfina Foundation, 2018. Credit Tim Bowditch. Courtesy Delfina Foundation