The artist Ilona Sagar was invited to work with firstsite’s young people’s group Y.A.K. (Young Art Kommunity) in October 2013.
‘Y.A.K. have been working on a project, which develops new ways to negotiate and explore an architectural, historical and personal landscape. The project focuses on methods to build up or break down narrative within film. Sessions have been structured around sound, image and text techniques used for film of performance. Y.A.K have used film as a research tool and a platform for debate. The young people have become increasingly interested in the Anti-Social Behaviour Act and the private and public security services which patrol areas of Colchester town centre. The group has actively explored the politics surrounding the ways in which these spaces they use are monitored, owned and controlled. The project took place as the new regulations were enforced, giving PCSO’s and Zone Wardens more powers to move young people from the grounds surrounding firstsite.’ Ilona Sager
The two films came out of this exploration and can be viewed individually or together, offering different perspectives on identity and shared spaces. The work took place during firstsite’s Xerography exhibition which celebrated the technology of photocopying and the role it has played in contemporary art.
‘Although this project did not seek to unite them all under one umbrella it has opened up possibilities of real engagement within the social and spatial politics that affect them. Not only did I want to respond to the skills and experiences that members of Y.A.K brought to the project, I wished to challenge and extend their knowledge and experience through creative disciplines such as film making, sound design and text. The project responded to the group, scaffolding their ideas into a supportive framework that was slowly removed as the project progressed, encouraging their creative independence and a real sense of collaborative ownership.’