00 Maeve Brennan The Drift 2017 Spike Island

Film Screening: Maeve Brennan The Drift

Until 11 June Spike Island is stream­ing Maeve Brennan’s 2017 film com­mis­sion, The Drift.

The Drift was produced by Spike Island, Bristol and Chisenhale Gallery, London and commissioned by Spike Island; Chisenhale Gallery; The Whitworth, The University of Manchester; and Lismore Castle Arts, Lismore.

The Drift is the result of an ongoing partnership between arts organisations supporting artists to produce ambitious new film commissions. Brennan’s film can be viewed on both Spike Island and Chisenhale Gallery’s websites until 11 June.

The film moves between three main characters: the gatekeeper of the Roman temples of Niha in the Beqaa Valley; a young mechanic from Britel, a village known for trading automobile parts; and an archaeological conservator working at the American University of Beirut.

Combining documentary footage, gathered through fieldwork, with staged scenes, the work depicts layered histories and communities. The Drift follows Brennan’s encounters with the gatekeeper as he recounts his life’s work restoring and guarding the temple ruins, while the mechanic crosses the Beqaa landscape, searching scrap yards for used automobile parts to transform his BMW car. Inside his workshop, the conservator slowly pieces together fragments of clay artefacts.

Forms of maintenance and repair are central to The Drift – with a focus on the desire to reassemble and rebuild. Quietly underpinning the film is the urgency of archaeology in the Middle East today, particularly with reference to the destruction and preservation of heritage sites across Syria and Lebanon. Brennan’s film maps converging lines between the protected relics of ancient temples, smuggled antiquities and exchanged car parts, exploring the care, circulation and shifting value of objects.

Maeve Brennan is an artist and filmmaker based in London. Her work has been exhibited and screened internationally. Recent exhibitions include Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria; MOMENTA: Biennale de l’Image, Montreal; Mother’s Tankstation, Dublin; Jerwood Space, London; Chisenhale Gallery, London; Spike Island, Bristol; The Whitworth, University of Manchester; Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art in Turku, Finland and Dar el Nimer, Beirut. Her films have screened at International Film Festival Rotterdam; FILMADRID; Sheffield Doc Fest and Sonic Acts, Amsterdam. Brennan graduated from Goldsmiths in 2012 and was a fellow at the Home Workspace Programme at Ashkal Alwan, Beirut (2013–14). She received the Jerwood/FVU Award 2018 and is the Stanley Picker Art & Design Fellow (2019–21).

The Drift was produced by Chisenhale Gallery, London and Spike Island, Bristol and commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery; Spike Island; The Whitworth, The University of Manchester; and Lismore Castle Arts, Lismore.

The Drift was supported by The Arab Fund For Arts and Culture – AFAC and Arts Council England Grants for the Arts.
00 Maeve Brennan The Drift 2017 Spike Island