An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Sussex

London-based director Jessica Bishopp’s latest film drew inspiration from French avant-garde writer Georges Perec’s experimental novel, An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris (1975). Perec, who was a member of the notorious Oulipo writing group, noted down everything he saw within a single location in the French capital, taking his detailed observations to the absurd in a winding stream of consciousness. Like Perec, Bishopp “wanted to explore the visceral relationship between people and space,” as the filmmaker explains, “where the place becomes a character of its own.”

These filmic observations, shot with the candid mobility of Super 8, also drew their inspiration from iconic British photographer Marin Parr, whose images—famously capturing the kiss-me-quick culture of English seaside resorts—are “both comical and intimate, making the ordinary feel familiar and strange at the same time.” Replacing Perec’s post-war Paris with a seaside cafe in England’s Sussex, Bishopp’s lens drinks in the private worlds of strangers who had gathered in this place, whether alone or in groups, to eat and reflect in sight of the rolling waves of the southern coast.

Jessica’s film was made possible through a partnership between NOWNESS and the ICA—part of the Stop Play Record initiative which helps emerging filmmakers with a program of workshops, industry advice, screenings, and support.

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