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The Empty Plan

The Empty Plan

the empty plan

Research Centre
Art and Design Research Centre


Feature Film

The Empty Plan interrogates the relationship between theory and practice in the theatre of Bertolt Brecht; addressing the researching question of Brecht and art and his un-realized dream of its supersession through revolutionary practice, considering the possibilities of ‘committed art’ and its practical, theoretical and formal limits. As editing consultant I played an instrumental role, in exploring and revealing the films subject matter and the Directors have acknowledged my central role as a collaborator in this research.

Shifting between documentary, historical reconstruction and melodrama, the film deploys a number of formal strategies. Mixing improvisation, Brechtian and Stanislavskian theatre exercises, as well as set pieces shot in traditional film sets, it also utilises documentary-style reconstructions, fragments of text and historical imagery.

The film has been recognized as a strong contribution to current aesthetico-political debates around such issues as: what is at stake politically in the choice of a specific mode of expression? Is empathy a valid generator of political action? Is political art possible at all without first establishing a political/politicized context? The film’s directors received the Jarman Award 2011 – recognizing artists working with moving image and whose work resists conventional definition.

Commissioned by Film London Artists' Moving Image Network and City Projects and supported by Focal Point Gallery, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart and Kunsthall Oslo. The completed film was premiered at Focal Point Gallery (Southend) (Nov 2010 - Jan 2011). It was also screened in 2011 at the 'British Art Show 7, Hayward Gallery, London, Plymouth, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Stuttgart, ŒBritish Art Show 7, Glasgow, 'LOOP', Arts Santa Mónica, Barcelona, Kunsthall Oslo, 'A Film Cycle', Nomas Foundation/Cinema Farnese, Rome, Whitechapel Gallery Film Program, London.

Researchers involved

Steve Sprung - Course Leader: MA Film and Media Production, and MA International Documentary Production

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