North Star Study Group
The North Star Study Group is an adult community education initiative founded by artist Rachel Dobbs and co-directed by Marcy Saude along with Sol Moyano and Beth Emily Richards. It is a platform for self-directed projects and learning around the legacy of British colonialism in Plymouth and beyond, begun in response to official memorialisation of the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s settler-colonial journey from Plymouth to what is now the United States.
Group members have facilitated radical history reading groups, research into public art practices, a zine, film screenings, accession of relevant digital and print resources for public libraries, guerilla projection interventions, mutual aid projects with local refugees, and tours of the local built environment that compare public mythmaking with historical evidence. In June 2020, research developed by North Star Study Group was used to support a successful campaign to change the name of Plymouth’s John Hawkins Square; Hawkins started the UK’s trade in enslaved Africans.
Directions is a series of screenings, events, and workshops programmed by Marcy Saude, taking place at various arts and community venues in Plymouth, UK between 2019-2021. Directions aims to be a critical platform for international artist film practice, creative development, and community engagement, with a broadly decolonial perspective addressing themes including migration, futurity, and resonating legacies of settler colonialism and empire.
The Future Imaginaries Ephemeral Research Library makes temporary spaces for sharing the radical potential of books to help imagine the possibility of getting free. FIERL’s collection focuses on speculative fiction, communist and anarchist political theory, history-from-below, poetry, and cultural criticism, with thematic selections made to accompany events, screenings, and exhibitions.
Wax Paper Hour(s)
The Wax Paper Hour(s) is a regular show on Sound Art Radio, a volunteer-run community FM broadcaster based at Dartington Estate, Totnes. The show serves as a public audio “research notebook,” combining fiction and non-fiction/ theory reading excerpts with thematic music, and more recently featuring collaborations with guest artists and cultural workers.
An excerpt from post-hoc documentation of Kakistocrat, an illustrated lecture commissioned by the Peninsula Arts Gallery at Plymouth University for their Spring 2019 exhibition “Unknown Knowns.”
Kakistocrat draws from speculative fiction and anti-authoritarian politics to think through radical future imaginaries, in contrast to media depictions of dystopia and capitalist futurologies. “Obsolete” audiovisual technologies such as overhead projection and LPs are combined with strategies of digital appropriation to question hegemonic narratives of progress. TRT: 45 minutes.
Avalon Acres is an ongoing anarchic, collective allotment site that serves as a learning and testing ground for members exploring non-commodity food production, medicinal plants, and the cultivation of urban wildlife-friendly zones. It grew out of a desire to explore food security and collaborative modes of decision making and interacting with the land. During Covid-19 lockdown in the UK, learning has been shared via virtual discussion groups for arts workers-turned-gardeners. Avalon Acres was initiated by Lucy Davies, Shaun Lewin, Marcy Saude, and Jack Witek in 2019.
In collaboration with improv musicians including the Viridian Ensemble and the Plymouth Noise Laboratory, a community-based sonic exploration group, Pauline Oliveros’ vocal score Wind Horse is adapted for varied instrumentation including double 16mm projection of handpainted film as an optical sound source. Oliveros’ Deep Listening method is used to support a collective practice of freedom for participant performers, desolving hierarchical barriers between musical and “non-musical” sounds.
Handmade Film for a Post-Police World
This workshop, presented in collaboration with Bristol Experimental and Expanded Film (BEEF) and Antiuniversity in 2018, combined tactile media critique via 16mm appropriation of film, television, and online representations of policing with presentations by anarchist activists on histories of policing and police brutality in Bristol, the UK, and the USA. In between 16mm film hand processing steps, workshop participants brainstormed local resources to serve as alternatives to calling the police.
Imperfect ’68 Workshop and Screening
In collaboration with Imperfect Cinema, a social-participatory platform for film, and the Radical Film Network‘s distributed 1968/2018 film festival, this community media workshop combined critical context for global politics and culture in May ’68 with DIY phone filmmaking skills to imagine utopian futures for Plymouth.
Pilgrim Plaques is a zine made during a 2017 residency in the Plymouth Arts Centre library. Research into local monuments and memorialisation of colonialism also manifested as a public lecture and a reading group looking at the construction of public memory.
Moving Image Works
Public projects, workshops, and research (as signposted in CV) are closely linked to artist film work themes.
Stills from Come On Pilgrim (work in progress):