Jerwood FVU

The Lost Ones

17 July 2019, 6.30-10pm
Jericho Tavern, Oxford

Richard Whitby's The Lost Ones screens as part of a series of artist film screenings exploring current social and political concerns including digital identity and communities, perceived gender roles, migration and cultural identity. The screening is followed by a talk from Whitby.

In The Lost Ones, a disparate group of individuals are waiting to have their residency status assessed. Stuck in bureaucratic limbo, and asked to attend an interview at a place called the Premium Service Centre, they find themselves interrogated by a disembodied voice, whose peremptory manner and frequently malicious tone makes for an uncomfortable, hostile environment. Alluding to the dystopian visions of Orwell and Beckett, and the surrealist animations of Svankmajer, but adding a contemporary edge in the aftermath of the Windrush scandal and the extended dramas of Brexit, the piece has a black-comic energy that mixes acerbic, absurdist humour with moments of genuine pathos. Co-scripted by television writer and satirist Alistair Beaton and beautifully improvised by a number of more or less in-the-dark performers, The Lost Ones confronts us with an inescapably timely and symbolic image of people so trapped in a tortuous, nightmarish process that they start to lose their grip on reality.

The Lost Ones was commissioned for the Jerwood/FVU Awards 2019: Going, Gone, a collaboration between Jerwood Arts and Film and Video Umbrella. 

The production received in-kind support from University of East London, London Metropolitan University and Queen Mary University of London.


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Richard Whitby in conversation with Karen Alexander

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