Art, Reading | 12 Sep 19 - 15 Sep 19

Jennie Savage: As Light Through A Prism

Art, Reading | 12 Sep 19 - 15 Sep 19

Jennie Savage: As Light Through A Prism

For 2019’s festival, IACF invited artist Jennie Savage to create a new artwork. The work she has created takes the form of a story and walking guide. It will be available for audiences from the reception of Torre Abbey Museum each day of the festival through till November.

‘As Light Through a Prism is a walking guide for readers to take through Torquay. The walk itself starts at Torre Abbey and meanders up to Daddyhole Plain, leading through the town and up to the coastal path, taking approximately 1 hour.

The guide can also be taken as an act of imagination, exploring the town through memory and using googlemaps on your phone. 

The guide follows the journey of one character through the town. This character embodies Torquay and has been developed in response to psycho-geographic research made in the town itself: Torquay personified. 

During this journey the town unfolds through the eyes and experiences of the lead character and in doing so seeks to collapse the binary narrative established by the traditional crime novel, of victim and perpetrator and detective. In researching this project I spent many hours in bookshops reading the blurb of novels that I am far to squeamish to read or invest in. However I realised a contributing factor in my resistance is the narrative of the woman’s body in a skip/ bathroom/ hotel room etc and the fetishisation and indeed misogyny present in a culture that, over and over again fantasises about a woman’s loss of agency as she is reduced to being simply a body. Conversely we may also look upon this narrative as an implicit form of control or threat reminding women that they continue to be vulnerable. Sadly of course the statistics do bear this out – an average of two women are murdered every week. However in most cases these are not down to clever crime narratives but wilful acts of domestic violence and abuse. 

Through the narrative in this walking guide I seek to present a crime novel that sits on more uncertain ground and explore what it might feel like to be in between states.

I also explore the complexity of surveillance and disappearance – the possibility of disappearance and what that might feel like in a context whereby individuals are constantly mapped and reporting ‘data’ back through mobile phone, bank transactions and street surveillance. Indeed the title of the book refers to ‘Prism’, a secret program run by the National Crime Agency (US) that monitors searches on major engines such as Apple and Google. As the title suggests I begin to wonder how disappearance and therefore a sense of escape might be possible.’ – Jennie Savage


Jennie Savage is an artist / curator who seeks to transform people’s perception of place through the creation of mediated experiences. Working with a site, she explores the dialogues between public spaces, constructed landscapes and the human story. Locating individual experience and perception at the centre of the work, she seeks to draw out and make connections between interior and exterior landscapes.

Her projects take many forms and sit at the edges of fine art and architectural practices. Works have included museum interventions, a radio station, broadcast events, a bus tour, audio walks, a cinema for the sea, online projects, maps, pamphlets, publications and artist films made for site specific exhibition.

She exhibits nationally and internationally and works extensively across the UK. She has undertaken funded projects across Europe and in Canada, Australia, Mexico, Delhi and Morocco.