Interview with Shortlisted Jarman Award Nominee, Laura Buckley

Laura Buckley expertly combines moving image, kinetics, sound, light, sculpture and digital print, to recontextualise the everyday. She uses scanned imagery to create projected videos that are combined with footage from her life. The resulting pieces create an immersive and highly abstract environment. Buckley is shortlisted for the Jarman Award, an annual prize inspired by one of Britain’s most innovative, esteemed and controversial artists of the late 20th century, Derek Jarman. Aesthetica speaks to Buckley about her admiration for Derek Jarman and her approach to art.

A: You are shortlisted for the Jarman Award, how has Derek Jarman’s work impacted upon you?
I have a big admiration for Derek Jarman as he was such a beautiful thinker. There was a brave freedom in his passion for work, moving between different mediums and genres. His films are incredibly poetic and visually rich, portraying all the many levels of the human condition. I’m a big fan of Jarman’s writings. His diaries are consistently open and honest, connecting with the reader on a very intimate level.

A: You are also shortlisted alongside a number of other important practitioners, were you familiar with their work before the award?
I had been familiar with the work of most of the other nominees and it was a pleasure to discover the few I didn’t already know. It’s such a diverse group of moving image makers with fresh approaches, motivations and techniques.

A: Your work uses moving image, kinetics, sound, light, sculpture and digital print to recontextualise the everyday. How did you get into this type of work?
My work with moving image comes from a background in painting and installation. When I began experimenting with projectors I immediately embraced their sculptural properties of directing light. My use of reflective materials and surfaces and playing with perception within the content of my videos naturally expanded into the space of exhibition. So the various elements of my practice always exist somewhere in-between two worlds, studio construction and real life events, nature and technology, abstract and representational and so on. I want to represent the everyday by pushing objects, scans and scenarios through technical and mechanical processes to produce new and extramundane dimensions.

A: Your work is very immersive, how do you want your audiences to respond?
My moving image projections are normally anchored to a sculptural support. It is integral that the viewer is free to move around the work. When I began refracting my moving projections around the entire space it was important that the existing interior architecture became the support, and I was applying image and colour around the entire internal support, as well as across the viewers themselves, so that they could physically enter and penetrate the work. I aim to engage the viewer in a basic way through sound, light, pattern, movement, to take them on a sensual journey. Often my editing is dealing with different states of mind at different points so I’m hoping to evoke certain feelings within the viewer as the journey of experience progresses. This is done in a very open and abstract way and I’m creating a half light, dream like environment which is completely open to individual interpretation.

A: How has it been touring your work around the country? Has there been a space where you particularly enjoyed seeing your practice presented?
I enjoyed seeing the entire screening at Watershed in Bristol where I did my Q&A. Everyone at Film London had curated such a well paced programme it was a pleasure to take it all in.

A: What do you have planned for next?
I will be performing a new live collaborative work with Paul Purgas at the Whitechapel Gallery on the 7 December as part of the Jarman Award weekend programme. Upcoming projects include an outdoor commission in Scotland and a solo project in Berlin.

To find out more about Laura’s work and the Jarman Award, visit

1.Laura Buckley, Fatamorgana, courtesy of the artist and Jarman Award.