Jennet Thomas

I make films, performances and installations exploring the connections between my lived everyday, fantasy and ideology, experimenting with collective constructions of the meaningful. Using a collision of genres, my work can look like T.V. news, experimental film, childrens’ drama, or performance art behaviours, and is frequently comic, uncanny and entertaining.

Return of the Black Tower: film, 15 minutes, 2007
Return of the Black Tower: film, 15 minutes, 2007

Emerging from the anarchistic, experimental culture of London’s underground film /live art scene in the 1990’s, I was cofounder of Exploding Cinema Collective. My work screens internationally and also shows as installations in galleries. Recent solo shows/ long format films include: ‘THE UNSPEAKABLE FREEDOM DEVICE’ 2015 (Grundy Gallery and touring – date at Matt’s Gallery 21st November) ‘SCHOOL OF CHANGE’ 2012,  ‘All Suffering SOON TO END’ 2010 (both at Matt’s Gallery) ‘Return of the Black Tower’ at PEER in 2007. Much of my single screen work is distributed by Video Data Bank.


This work was originally made for a solo show at PEER Gallery in 2007, and is a wayward homage to ‘The Black Tower’ – a seminal 1987 work of British Structuralist Filmmaking by John Smith. Two characters, John and Jennifer, faces painted gold with the benign glow of modern-day cult members, explain to appreciative applause their experience of an indescribable yet recurring visual phenomenon, cryptically defined as ‘meaning embedded in the relation of things…a kind of shape’.

“Barmy, baffling and weirdly funny, Thomas’ rejig takes Smith’s honed inquiry into film’s structural conditions and reverses its terms: instead of a lone protagonist, a group; instead of his lonely death because of the tower, a celebratory union with the ‘thing’. Thomas’s non-sequitur digression into collective conviction is an elliptical, satirical examination of contemporary belief, as much as it is about the problem of art as an incommensurate, incommunicable experience. If Smith’s film sought to reveal the truth of its technology, Thomas suggests that video can only witness truth’s evanescence in an increasingly uncertain age. “

JJ Charlesworth review Time Out 2007

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