Way My It Did I
17 September – 11 October, 2020
In the Port of Tilbury—a place which historically was the point of entry for migrants to the UK—filmmaker Maria Anastassiou worked collaboratively with a group of people who had recently arrived in the town to paint a portrait of life in the transient space of the Thames Estuary.
In this Programme:
by María Palacios Cruz
Way My It Did I
An introduction from filmmaker Maria Anastassiou
Way My It Did I
Aboard a commercial vessel docked in the Port of Tilbury, Filipino migrant workers sing karaoke. This port town, on the Thames Estuary, has historically been a point of entry for migrants into the UK as well as a major commercial port. Set against the transient landscape of the Thames Estuary, this is a place laden with traces of the ever-shifting global narratives of empire, commerce and migrations.
Filmmaker Maria Anastassiou spent a year working with refugee and migrant groups in Tilbury—including Romanian workers, west-African asylum seekers and Filipino seafarers—to explore shared experiences of citizenship and belonging. Documenting the everyday realities of life for this community, Anastassiou intersperses seemingly natural moments of community with scenes of constructed testimony. With a slippery relationship between sound and image, the film draws attention to its own making in an attempt to challenge the production of “truths” or “facts” in our current “post-truth” media environment. In the process, this film re-affirms our relationship to the “real” as experienced and captured through the chosen technology with its limitations and potentials a conscious part of the film’s aesthetic.
While the harsh bureaucracy of the UK immigration system is made evident, the film also documents living and working in a port town in a post-Brexit landscape. Through shipping containers and windmills, signifiers of industry float in constant motion in the background of shots and the presence of the border is made visible—a black border patrol boat docked by the shore.
Shot on a hand-cranked 16mm film camera with the participants actively involved in the film’s production, the film aims to question official narratives and histories within the UK’s current political context. Commissioned by New Geographies—a three-year project which highlights overlooked or unexpected places across East Anglia—the film redraws the map of the region with places important to those living here. —Myriam Mouflih
Maria Anastassiou (b. Cyprus 1982) is an artist/filmmaker based in London and Essex. Selected exhibitions and screenings include: Way My It Did I Art Exchange Gallery, Colchester, Selection 08 Courtisane Festival, Ghent, Belgium (2019), Light and Dark (Park) LUX, London, Kleep toowit, klip klip, too-ow-wit Art Exchange Gallery (2018), Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC USA (2017), The Equilibrists Benaki Museum Athens, Contact Artists’ Film Festival Apiary Studios London, Negative Light Microscope Gallery, NYC USA (2016). Recent commissions include: New Geographies (2018), Bedford Creative Arts (2016, 2017), Creative Europe Program (2015-2017). She is recipient of the Deutsche Bank Award for Art (2010) and an ACME Studios Residency (2017-2023)
Piano Practice 2020
Way My It Did I 2019
Kleep toowit, klip klip, too-ow-wit 2018
Safari Here 2017
Gymnastics for everyday Anxieties 2017
Film and Photo 2016
In-Situ Cinema 2016
Eastern Postcards 2014
Dropped Frames 2013
Lighting Strikes 2013
Deniz: bir, iki, üç 2013
Illuminated Exchanges 2012
B for Sky 2011
Here this time, a terrible beauty 2010
Production CountryUnited Kingdom
Dialogue LanguagesEnglish Romanian