Spike Film and Video has been working closely with artist Maryam Jafri over the last 6 months to produce her new film Mouthfeel which opens at Gasworks in London on Thursday March 20th. Mouthfeel is the first significant production produced through Spike Film and Video since the merger with Picture This in April 2013.
Mouthfeel (21:30 min, 2K HD video with sound) combines staged and found footage to unravel the politics surrounding the mass production of processed food. The staged scenes are based on an original script by the artist and focus on the conversations of a married couple who work for the same food multinational. Their exchange is inspired by theatre and television, where socio-political analysis is played out through everyday, familial dialogue with large doses of humour, hypocrisy and violence.
Set in the near future, the wife, a leading food technologist, and the husband, a senior brand manager, find themselves stuck in a chauffeur-driven stretch limo at a security checkpoint in an unspecified city. The wife, played by Jafri, has uncovered a potential health problem with their new product, which her husband is determined to cover up. Along with excerpts of found footage sourced from different countries in the global south and which act as 'commercial breaks', these scenes address themes of convenience, good taste and the disparities between mass and artisanal forms of production.
The exhibition at Gasworks comprising of the newly commissioned film and a new photowork entitled Product Recall: An Index of Innovation (both 2014) explores the politics underpinning the industrial production of food, connecting themes as diverse as 'big food', flavour enhancement technology and overconsumption.
Encompassing moving image, text, photography and performance, Jafri’s research-based practice often merges fiction and documentary to explore how historical and economic constructs manifest in everyday gestures, manners and items such as clothes, food and textiles. Using different strategies, these works emphasise the inherent perversity and performativity of capitalist production while also insisting on a form of artistic research in which facts are deliberately occluded.
Spike Film and Video works with artists and organisations to produce and consult on new film and video projects. We provide an extensive range of resources to deliver large-scale moving image installations and artists’ film and video productions. Backed by a team of highly skilled technicians and producers in-house, we regularly combine project management and technical services with equipment hire.