THE HOST by Miranda Pennell

Continuing CIRCLE Contemporary’s programme of presenting artists’ film, the gallery is pleased to welcome Artist Film Club – LUX for a special screening and discussion with filmmaker Miranda Pennell.


SYNOPSIS: While investigating her late parents’ involvement with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now known as BP) the filmmaker comes across the letters of a petroleum geologist in Iran in the 1930’s, who would later embark on a search for the origins of civilisation. The film sets out on its own exploration, to decipher signs from the fragmented images buried in the BP archive. This journey through images of the past interweaves stories drawn from both personal memory and from the records of an imperial history, gradually building a picture of a 20th century colonial encounter. ‘The Host’ is about the stories we tell about ourselves and others, the facts and fictions we live by – and their consequences.

Thursday 14 April, 6.30pm

The Paddock Room, Hawksfield.

Miranda Pennell first trained in contemporary dance, and later studied visual anthropology. Her film and video work exploring different forms of collective performance whether dancers, soldiers or fight directors, has been broadcast internationally and shown in festival and gallery contexts.  Her recent moving-image work uses archival materials as the starting point for a reflection on the colonial imaginary.  Her film Why Colonel Bunny Was Killed (2010) examines  British image-making in the Afghan borderlands at the turn of the 20th century. It was awarded best international film at the 2011 Images Festival, Toronto, and  Courtisane Festival of Media Art, Ghent, and is published on DVD by Filmarmalade. Pennell’s feature-length film The Host (2015), reworks material drawn from the archive of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now BP) and is touring UK venues courtesy of the Independent Cinema Office.

Selected screenings of Pennell’s work include ‘Co-op Dialogues 1976-2016: Lis Rhodes & Miranda Pennell’ and  ‘Assembly: survey of recent artists’ film and video in Britain 2008–2013’at Tate Britain (2016 and 2015 respectively), ‘Autobiography and the Archive’ at the Zhika auditorium at Whitechapel Gallery (2015), ‘Colonial Spectres’ Museum of Modern Art Vienna (2012), and group exhibitions ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ at Mead Gallery (2013) and ‘Europe – The Future of History’ at Kunsthaus Zurich (2015). Retrospective programs of her work include those at Glasgow Short Film Festival (2011), Oberhausen Short Film Festival (2006), Vienna International Shorts (2011), Tampere Short Film Festival (2009). She is based in London and her work is distributed by LUX.