The Separate System
Two screen installation &
single screen installation,
With kind support from:
Film festival selection for competitive international shorts:
"Doing one’s duty, running errands, the system of military service, everyday and office life and family must be managed. Soldiers take responsibility for others; when their relationships fail, however, they are left alone: the detained former soldiers are sentenced and locked away. They know for what but not why. Because their punishment therefore stands for society’s flight into perplexity, the latter severs all ties with the people in question. This film gives a voice to these soldiers, talks about its impressive subject in rough recordings and harmonious, precisely filmed images. The hand-written notes that serve as breaks condense the detainees’ misery, work with the visual level to make their appeals of rage and loss directly to us, the community.Statement from the Ecumenical Jury of Oberhausen International Film Festival, 2017
That meaning has become empty becomes emblematic at the end of this powerful and relevant work. Liverpool FC, their club, emerges as the great unifier of this community – but its familiar hymn, “You’ll never walk alone” which is thus implied reinforces the ambiguity of the former soldiers’ situation. Their lives are embedded in a close and separate system of society. The space of guilt widens, addressing issues of violence and society and what constitutes humanity by motive and identity."
Awarded the Special Mention of the Ecumenical Jury, 2017
The Separate System (2017) is a new collaborative commission facilitated by FACT’s Veterans in Practice programme, produced by veterans through workshops at HMP Liverpool and HMP Altcourse with artist Katie Davies. Taking the form of both a single channel cinematic film and a two screen immersive installation, the piece explores the distinct, yet interconnected, spaces of the military, custody and ‘civilian’ life. Exploring these spaces and the experiences within them through the notion of work, an everyday activity that unites these worlds and is familiar to us all, the film communicates what we, as a civilian audience, do not understand about the unique set of relations, actions and responsibilities held by the individuals within these spaces.
"Davies captures the paradox of men who work in factories in jail to make objects that enable mobility by showing the moving parts; wheels in office furniture and tyres on automobiles. The film is revelatory but refuses to adopt a judgmental lens, making use of street scenes where individuals are granted freedom of movement to show the stark contrast between state imprisonment and what we perceive as social freedom"Tara Judah, Sense of Cinema, June, 2017