Deep State
45 Mins, HD, UK Premiere Nov 2012

This film is part of The Museum of non Participation:
Museum of non Participation

‘Deep State’ is a film by Karen Mirza and Brad Butler that has been scripted in collaboration with author China Miéville. The film takes its title from the Turkish term ‘Derin Devlet’, meaning ‘state within the state’. Although its existence is impossible to verify, 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 – decisions that often run counter to the outward impression of democracy.

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 an eternally recurring call-and-response between rhetorical positions and counter-languages, in which a raised fist, a thrown rock, a crowd surge, an occupation provoke a corresponding reaction in the form of a police charge, a baton attack, a pepper spray, assassinations.

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. Collided together, past, present and future trace a continuum, in which the same repetitive patterns are played out. Against a backdrop of momentous, historically resonant demonstrations, an eternal rioter, or ‘riotonaut’, is picked out, as if by a searchlight, ever-present at each and every flashpoint. 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’ is commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella. Funded by Arts Council England and London Councils.