I Declare a Thumb War (2019)
2K video, 5 minutes, looped
I Declare a Thumb War is a re-enactment of a propaganda photograph from the beginning of the so-called ‘war on terror’ era. The image, depicting a soldier playing a friendly ‘thumb war’ game with a child, originates from an official military webpage. The work re-stages this absurd state-sanctioned image—a false utopian ideal and orientalist fantasy—imagining it as a veteran’s memory.
Francois Truffaut famously once said “there’s no such thing as an anti-war film”, as cinema by its very nature glorified conflict. However, by subverting the language of war cinema itself, making it slow, unreal and non-violent, this repetitive act questions the idealogy of endless war.
Originally due to premier at European Media Art Festival 2020;
cancelled due to Covid-19.
Cinematography: Christiaan van Leeuwen + Andreas Drosdz
Production Design: Marcus van Binsbergen
Score: Nicolas Jaar
Produced, Directed & Edited by Ewan Macbeth
Supported by Creative Scotland & Piet Zwart Institute.
Divided Together (2018)
HD video, 4 minutes, looped
“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. ” ― George Orwell, Politics and the English Language (1946)
Divided Together portrays the leader of an ideologically ambiguous government while he has an awkward and leering interaction with a make-up artist who is preparing him for his televised address to a newly-invaded country. The work deconstructs the spectacle of the political arena to consider the absurdity, artificiality and hypocrisy of contemporary power. Politicians as actors, the obscene as their mise en scène.
Divided Together was supported by and premiered at the EYE Film Institute in Amsterdam.
Writers: Ewan Macbeth & Tom Roberts
Cinematography: Zhibin Quin
Editing: Lotte Louise de Jong
Sound Design: Salvador Miranda
Produced & Directed by Ewan Macbeth
Mass Production (2016)
HD video, 4-channels, 15 minutes, looped
Mass Production is a video installation that shows four perspectives of a newspaper printing press, shot in unbroken long takes. Filmed within Euronews, the largest newspaper printing factory in the world, this set is just a small fraction of the News Corp empire, which is owned by billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
This printing press, which is seen producing the Financial Times, is also used to make publications such as The Daily Telegraph and The Sun. Over the course of the 15-minute video installation we witness the making of 60,000 newspapers. In order to both appreciate and reduce its size and power, the factory is portrayed in a series of abstract details.
Cinematography: Jack McCombe
Sound Design: Filip Degernäs
Market Data (2016)
inkjet prints, construction paper, acrylic box frames
Market Data is an archive of economic data and current events. Stock market data is contextualised with stills made from news footage of the days leading story. Company-, commodity- and currency-trading figures share space with these events, many of which cause direct fluctuations in market values. Market Data considers the economy of photography, turning mass-produced images into single-piece artworks.