waterside contemporary is pleased to present Deep State, a new film by Karen Mirza and Brad Butler scripted in collaboration with author China Miéville.
The work takes its title from the Turkish term 'Derin Devlet', meaning 'state within the state'. This shadowy nexus of special interests and covert relationships is the place where real power is said to reside, and where fundamental decisions are made.
Amorphous and unseen, the influence of this deep state is glimpsed at regular points throughout the film ' most clearly surfacing in its reflexive responses to popular protest, and in legislated acts of violence and containment, but also rumbling and reverberating, deeper down, in a counter-language to that of popular revolt, in which a police charge, a baton attack, pepper spray, assassinations provoke, and respond to, a raised fist, a thrown rock, a crowd surge, an occupation.
A powerful undertow in the ongoing tide of history, this push and pull of competing forces is deftly illuminated in a vivid montage of newly filmed and archive footage. Past, present and future collide to form a continuum, in which clear patterns start to recur. A 'riotonaut' time-travels through momentous demonstrations, passing through the holes punched in history by uprisings. On a moonscape, confronted with a picket that becomes a riot, an ur-dictator, personification of the Deep State, blurts stupefying, hot-air abstractions of neo-liberalism.
Deep State germinated from Mirza and Butler's experiences in Cairo prior to the occupation of Tahrir Square, at a time when it seemed impossible to speak about resistance. This sharpened Mirza and Butler's interest in making a work that calls out and dislodges ossified language and images.