Stay the Same: Film as philosophical enquiry

Sam Firth (Director)

    Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products


    Stay the Same is a multi-media project funded by the British Film Institute and Creative Scotland combining a fifteen-minute film and interactive/collaborative webspace. The project ran from 2011 to 2013 and had its first international screening in Stuttgart, 2014. It is at the intersection between experimental film, art and philosophical enquiry or “film as philosophy” [Wartenberg] and is highly original in this regard.

    The work examines our phenomenological desire to document experience through image-making. It uses cinema as a medium of self-viewing and self-encounter [Rennebohm 2018] and responds to the work of Ackerman, Wearing, Kotting, Mekas and Varda. It explores the aporia between “the time of the soul and the time of the world” [Riccouer 1984] through filmmaking ultimately asking whether some lines of philosophical enquiry can be expressed more effectively through a non-textual/non-verbal approach.

    The webspace documents the process of making the film, curated responses to it, related work, and internet memes that could be regarded as a collective, unconscious, expression of the same question.

    The originality and significance of this work are reflected in the level of impact. It prompted a national debate on the nature and value of “art” which reached the Metro, Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Sun, and BBC Radio 4 Six O’clock News. The Times Educational Supplement commissioned an article about the work which was accompanied by a schools resource encouraging children to explore experimental filmmaking.

    The film screened at thirteen internationally recognised film festivals, the ICA, the CCA (Glasgow), the Royal Scottish Academy and public spaces across Sweden. It received an award at Stuttgart FilmWinter and won International Competition at VideoEx Experimental Film Festival (Switzerland) competing against that years Turner Prize winner. After being made available online it was watched over 4,700 times.

    It was presented as part of a paper on filmmaking as philosophical enquiry at MeCCSA Practice Symposium, Lincoln 2018.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationGermany
    PublisherStuttgart Filmwinter Festival for Expanded Media 2014
    Media of outputFilm
    Size14 minutes
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014
    EventStuttgarter Filmwinter - Festival of Expanded Cinema - Stuttgart, Germany
    Duration: 10 Jan 201419 Jan 2014


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