“Speculative Fiction: Practicing Collectively” is a collective film produced by an experimental collaboration between people and place. Initiated through an ongoing dialogue between Japanese artist Natsumi Sakamoto and Scottish Curator Rachel Grant. These informal conversations produced common ground in the interests of contemporary feminist practice, speculative fiction and the possibility of digital space within this. It also situated an interest in working transnationally and the film commission invited critical feminist perspectives from practitioners in Japan and Scotland. ‘Back and Forth Collective’ [Asako Taki, Mei Homma, Natsumi Sakamoto] and Jen Clarke, Fionn Duffy and musician Sarah McWhinney respectively.
Situated in critical feminist perspectives, the collective approach used digital spaces as a platform for collaboration and co-learning opportunities, meant as explicitly feminist acts of sharing knowledge, ways of knowing, and mutual learning. This was grounded in online meetings, emails and online platforms used to share resources. It also included skill share sessions for example in film editing, that was shared between the group.
This methodology was anchored in historical feminist approaches to film production from the 1970’s such as the London Women’s Film Collective. During this project we also wrote together, finding writing as a site for reflection for the process and as a way of working together outside of visual frames. This generated two texts, ‘A Story of She. Collective Feminist Film Making at Home (between Japan and Scotland)’ collectively written and edited by the group and Footnotes to: Speculative Fiction: Practicing Collectively’ written by Natsumi Sakamoto and Rachel Grant.
The film was presented at OPEN SITE Tokyo Arts and Space [TOKAS] with a physical and digital audience, as part of Back and Forth Collectives event ‘Feminists in Collective Practice’. We would like to thank TOKAS and the Cheer for Art Programme for their support of this project.
The film was in screened in May 2021 as part of e-flux Artists Cinema programme through 'Faraway, so close' convened by Japanese artist Koki Tonaka. The group were interviewed by artist duo Ruth Beale & Amy Feneck. The interview and previous programme can be viewed here. The film can be view here.
Dr Jennifer Clarke is an anthropologist, artist, and curator, and Lecturer at an art school in Scotland. Her research and public work take place at the interstices of contemporary art and anthropology: in practice and theory, in Europe and Japan, projects responding to urgent social and ecological issues from a feminist perspective, and often in collaboration.
Fionn Duffy is an interdisciplinary artist based in Glasgow, Scotland. With an interest in the ethical and ecological concerns at stake when considering the relationship between the porous human body and material, Duffy’s work manifests as sculpture, video and text. Responding to methods of preservation and production, she works at the edges of transformation with an attentiveness to residue, absence and persistence.
Mei Homma is a visual artist and co-founder of Back and Forth Collective based in Tokyo and Bandung. With her interest in historical relationships between Indonesia and Japan, she makes videos and installations using archival materials, novels and everyday materials to tell hidden stories related to women. Her interdisciplinary approach explores social and political issues and multilateral relationships
Natsumi Sakamoto is a visual artist based in Glasgow. She works with film, drawings and multi media installation. Her multi-disciplinary projects explore oral traditions and narratives to regenerate forgotten history and customs, in order to view them from a contemporary perspective. Strongly influenced by feminism, her motivation is to activate marginalized histories by voicing personal experiences.
Asako Taki is an artist, an activist and a coordinator of art projects based in Tokyo. By taking forms of participatory projects into performance and installations of various mediums, her works explore boundaries produced by nation and gender, as well as the shape of relationships, between individuals and among society.
Sarah McWhinney is a collaborative artist and musician based in Glasgow. She uses sound, projection and drawing to explore the interplay between landscape, muscle memory and improvisation. Cello as an instrument has the closest range of tone to the human voice; she plays this, alongside vocals and other gathered sounds, to create a counterpoint with the visual world.