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#icanconnect - short films on ‘The Waste Land’

Turner Contemporary created a series of short films featuring Tracey Emin, Lemn Sissay, Jeremy Deller, Gemma Cairney and Jack Rooke speaking on T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’

Turner Contemporary, in partnership with The Space, created a five part series of animated short films which look at T.S. Eliot’s 1922 poem, ‘The Waste Land’, in new ways. The films were developed in response to Turner Contemporary’s current exhibition, Journeys with ‘The Waste Land’.

The films, animated by Margate artist Jade Spranklen, focus on resonant themes that ‘The Waste Land’ connects to and consider the relevance of T.S. Eliot’s poem today. Spranklen’s vibrant, hand drawn illustrations respond directly to what the presenters are saying on screen:

Tracey Emin on Margate

"Margate actually saved me. And this waste land, this space, this nature that he refers to — this blanket, this mass of air that comes into you is fantastic because even at the age of 15, 14, I felt it there, and that's why I'm going back."

Lemn Sissay on Spoken Word.

"Enjoy the fact that your interpretation of any line is your job."

Jeremy Deller on Conflict and its relationship to art.

"You go from one thing, and then you go to classical, then you go to vernacular, then a song, children's stuff. It's like turning the dial on a radio, or going online and looking at stuff randomly. It has that same effect."

Gemma Cairney on Feminism

“Gender is so many things and I really like that – that we can be whoever we want to be, it would be easier if we didn’t put pressure on ourselves to tick the boxes... to be true to oneself is the most important thing.”

Jack Rooke on Mental Health

"To actually stop and pause and to have something artistic explore mental health in quite an uncensored way is really brilliant, and probably indicative of why this piece is so prolific and quite unique to the time it came out ..."

The local group, aged between 16 and 25, created a series of questions for the presenters during a one-day workshop in which they discovered the poem for the first time. Each presenter was invited to respond to questions posed by the group, including: ‘how do you see the future of mental health?’, ‘how importance is silence?’, ‘what would you rename feminism if you could?’ and ‘why do people associate the seaside with escapism?’ Alongside professionals, they shaped the short films which are being broadcast through the gallery’s digital channels.

Watch the series on Turner Contemporary’s YouTube channel here and join the conversation #icanconnect

About this Artist

Turner Contemporary is one of the UK’s leading art galleries.

Situated on Margate seafront, on the same site where Turner stayed when visiting the town, it presents a rolling programme of temporary exhibitions, events and learning opportunities which make intriguing links between historic and contemporary art. The gallery offers a space for everyone to discover different ways of seeing, thinking and learning.

Turner Contemporary is a catalyst for the regeneration of Margate and East Kent. The vision of the organisation is Art Inspiring Change, using collaboration, learning, ambition and transformation to give everyone to access to world-class art.