POLICE STATE (2016)
Title: Police State
Format: HD shot in anamorphic
Film by Jake Astbury
Audio: Interview with Nick Zedd
Music: Hugo - feeding pieces of eggplant to a flock of not to bright seagulls
Artist Commentary for Dovetail Journal 2017
This piece intends to disrupt and contest the images of the calm English countryside via language.
A Thin Air Radio interview (circa 1989) is heard, featuring filmmaker Nick Zedd, a prominent figure within the cinema of transgression, a term Zedd himself coined in 1985 to describe a community of filmmakers making work in New York at that time. Shock value is a key element within Zedd’s work and (as the interview portrays) also a key element within how he represents himself. When asked how he found (created) the images for Whorgasm (1986), he replies “by fucking as many people as I could” (00:50) – this is a key point of shock and dissonance, the image not reacting to the language – there is no ‘shock’ from the conservative countryside that this was his method, suggesting the calmness of the landscape as something else entirely. At 1:15, the conversation turns to Zedd’s Police State (1988); from this point written language is used to disrupt. As Zedd describes spray-painting ‘State’ on Police cars in New York, the onscreen text appears not as an addition to the landscape, but as a titling of it, building a further layer of language-led disruption upon the landscape.