People Pebble a film by Jivko Darakchiev and
Artists-led Community Participation Projects
Foreword by Christine Gist and Jim Shea Essay by Antonio Guzmán
This publication celebrates Playland, an artist’s film and video commission and a series of community engagement projects which brought together the shared preoccupations of international contemporary film-maker Jivko Darakchiev and those of communities living and working in rapidly changing towns on the south coast of England.
Commissioned by Christine Gist and Jim Shea, Darakchiev’s film People Pebble takes a very personal, contemplative look at life in south east England and Northern France, physically separated for millennia by the English Channel, La Manche. Within it, Darakchiev compares people’s interaction on either side of this working, trading waterway, their commonalities and differences. The film was conceived by Darakchiev with Perrine Gamot.
Foreword by Christine Gist and Jim Shea
This project was linked to geographical sites and unfolded thematically in the course of these eleven months. Along the Kent and East Sussex coasts, from Folkestone to Margate and on to St Leonards-on-Sea. And then to Worthing and Brighton, the project homed on a different local theme in each locality as the respective Playland sub-titles indicate: Re-imagining communities, A sense of place, There and here, People and communities, A time for ourselves. Originally – as if inspired by each genius loci or springing from seed sown previously – these five local themes reflected social issues preoccupying each of the different organisations or communities taking part in the project, each collective exhibition being the result of participation and collaboration on the part of a group of volunteers working within the project’s operational protocol.
Where does the title of Playland come from? All those involved agree that it came from Jivko Darakchiev, and refers to Playtime and the six sequences of Jacques Tati’s film which came out in 1967. Serendipity sometimes might get it just right: Playtime and Playland – a time and a place for living.
Extract from essay A Season in Playland Antonio Guzmán –
This major project is a new film and video piece by international artist Jivko Darakchiev. It explores landscape as a defining feature of collective memory and modern existence. The starting point of Playland was inspired by the striking visual contrast between two major features in the landscapes of South East England and Hauts de France and their respective patrimonial identities; the white chalk cliffs of the Sussex Heritage Coast in England and the black spoil tips (terrils) of Northern France.
Playland is co-curated by Christine Gist & Jim Shea.