Susannah Gent

Unhomely Street - The Architecture of Cinematic and Psychological Space


Output: Digital or Visual Media

This research explores the relationship of psychological and cinematic space. The principal output, Unhomely Street, a 20 minute essay film, uses a character in a state of fugue as a strategy to explore attitudes towards capitalism and contemporary society.

The filmmaking methodology employs diverse approaches drawing on essayistic, documentary, and experimental traditions to build a filmic experience of subjectivity that operates on several levels simultaneously. The film was produced while the filmmaker was recovering from post-concussive syndrome following a head injury and draws on subjective imagery and representations of mental illness. The production method employs a fine-art tradition of intuitively manipulating material, guided by effect.

The narrative explores philosopher Jacques Derrida’s concept of hauntology, a critical framework that recognises the non-linearity of thought, and suggests we have a responsibility to the future, to those dead and not yet born, while also recognising Mark Fisher’s interpretation, that we live in a time of mental illness, mourning the lost futures of the twentieth century.

Unhomely Street premiered at 63. Internationales Kurzfilmtage, Oberhausen, 2016. Research arising from Unhomely Street has been presented at conferences: ‘12th Annual Deleuze and Guattari conference’, Royal Holloway, London, 2019, Leeds Humanities Research Institute, University of Leeds, 2016, The Department of Architecture, Altinbas University, Istanbul, 2018. Following this presentation the book chapter ‘The Unconscious and the City: A Neuropsychoanalytic Exploration of Cinematic Space’, in Narrating the City, Intellect Books, 2020, was published. The production method is explored in an article published in Journal for Artistic Research, 2017. The success of Unhomely Street at Oberhausen in 2016 led to an invitation to present Profile: Susannah Gent, a retrospective of 20 years of films in 2020. An interview with the festival curator and a documentary commissioned by Arte, the French / German arts channel are included in the portfolio.

Research Output

Unhomely Street

This project contains further videos that can accessed via the full case study below.

Research Method

The film production was guided by questions including: Can an intuitive method of production reveal underlying behavioural tendencies in the artist / filmmaker? Can an approach to filmmaking that focuses on effect and metaphor, as opposed to story, bring a different experience to the viewer that encourages reflection on subjectivity?

Key Methodologies:

Full Project Output

REF '21

To learn more about the output, methods and dissemination of this work, explore the full project submission.

Other Projects By

Susannah Gent