Essay Films - Shortlisted 2017
Marianna Simnett’s films are magic-realist morality tales which focus on threats to the health of human beings and our environment. Using surrealist techniques she blends real and imagined events, often performing as a protagonist undergoing significant physical duress; in The Needle and the Larynx (2016) her voice is surgically lowered with Botox whilst she recites a grim parable about gender, nature and artifice.
The ‘sensory overload’ of Simnett’s films is heightened with original music, catchy refrains sung on screen as cautions or laments addressed to the viewer. Her films provoke visceral reactions. During a live adaptation of her video trilogy — The Udder (2014), Blood (2015), Blue Roses (2015) at Serpentine Galleries: Park Nights, 2015 — two audience members fainted.
Other recent work includes Faint with Light (2016), an immersive audio and light installation which captures the involuntary groan emitted from Simnett’s body when she repeatedly fainted by hyperventilating. Alongside her work as a filmmaker, Simnett lectures in Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University.