Shezad Dawood – Feature Reconstruction

With a cast that included Chief Crazy Horse, Krishna, a Valkyrie, a bunch of zombies, some fetish boys, a donkey and an albino snake, Shezad Dawood’s film Feature: Reconstruction effortlessly slips between film genres, playing havoc with the unwritten rules of distinction and boundary.

Similarly Feature: Reconstruction is not just simple documentation of a film. Instead a wide range of photographs taken by actors and volunteers, professionals and amateurs, capture action on both sides of the camera. The images are accompanied by footnotes, e-mail exchanges and written and visual contributions by artists Jimmie Durham, Doug Fishbone, David Medalla and writer Sebastian Roach.

The idea was to engage with the narrative of the film, but not try and play it out directly by following the script directly in a literal way. The structure of the scenes is being followed in chronological order, and by way of storyboard sketches, wikipedia-like snippets of information related to the scenes, and on front of and behind the camera shots of the film being made, there is both a sense of ‘the making of’ and the notion of the construction of the narrative in the film that plays itself out on the pages of the book. The majority of the book is printed in two colours – blue and red, which creates a slightly otherworldly atmosphere, and enhances the blue make-up that Shezad Dawood, as one of the main protagonists, wears throughout the film. A colour section in the back, entitled Trailer, finally shows a colour sequence of key moments in the film. The contribution by Sebastian Roach is about an actress playing a key role in a zombie-western, thus speaking to the notion of the construction of a film, while Doug Fishbone captures the process in a two-page spread that reads like a comic. This leaves us with multiple interpretations of the film Feature, hence the strap line of ‘reconstruction’.

Feature: Reconstruction accompanied a series of exhibitions and screenings of the film Feature in 2008. The first was at Leeds Met Gallery (20 June–2 July), followed by Castlefield Gallery, Manchester (8 August–21 September), Eastside Projects, Birmingham (November–December), and finally at Tate Britain during the Tate Triennial in Spring 2009.

Published by Book Works in collaboration with Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, and Wysing Arts Centre, Bourn, in association with Leeds Met Gallery, Leeds, and Eastside Projects, Birmingham. It was the fifth in a series of co-publishing partnerships initiated by Book Works, entitled Fabrications, commissioned and edited by me. The book was designed by Åbäke.

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