woman in an empty meeting room

tear down and rebuild

Mark Carey


Digital and Visual Material (Q)

Visual Storytelling, Performance

Film, Cinematography


Mark Carey is a renowned and award-winning Cinematographer with extensive international credits across filmmaking genres, including many projects nominated for major awards. He is a long-term collaborator on a series of major international artist projects by Jasmina Cibic that address how visual language, art, architecture, and political rhetoric are deployed and instrumentalised by political regimes as soft power strategies in the enterprise of nation building.

‘Tear Down and Rebuild’ was filmed in the former Palace of the Federation of Yugoslavia in Belgrade. The film centres on a passionate debate among four female protagonists – the Nation Builder, the Pragmatist, the Conservationist, and the Artist/Architect . The dialogue is comprised of quotations pulled from speeches by public figures, politicians, and architects from the last century. These edicts on iconoclasm or preservation question the use and continued relevance of art and architecture made in a particular historical moment with the purpose of establishing, revising, or destroying ideological State narratives.

Premiering at the Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade in 2015. It was also exhibited at Les Rencontres Internationales, Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, Esker foundation in Calgary and Pula Film Festival in 2016. In November of the same year it won the MAC International Ulster Bank Arts Prize (£20,000) and in 2017 it was shortlisted for the Aesthetica Arts Prize. It was also featured in the major exhibition ‘A Shining City on a Hill’ at the European Capital of Culture Aarhus 2017. ‘Tear Down and Rebuild’ is a part of the Spilraum trilogy which will be presented in the forthcoming publication by Black Dog publishing in summer 2017.

As a Cinematographer Mark’s collaboration is through the visual realisation of the cinematographic concept. Each film stands individually but may also be part of a cohesive series. Historical and visual references play a significant role in realising the concept. This is underpinned by photographic frames that being further researched in Mark’s PhD by previously published works on the journey from Photography to Cinematography.

Through student participation in the professional film sets Mark is also further developing his research: ‘Vicarious Learning: Professional Placement integrated with Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle to bring the learning benefits of high-end individual work placement to the whole student cohort’.

A conference room has never looked this good. Immaculately dressed and made-up, the four female speakers seated at the round table beneath a vast, elegant glass dome could be characters from Sex and the City were it not for their posh British accents and the fact that they appear to be debating the merits and demerits of an unspecified building slated for demolition. Culled from speeches by public figures, state officials, dictators, and architects spanning the last century, theirs is no ordinary dialogue. Each woman embodies a certain position — nation builder, pragmatist, conservationist, and artist architect — though at one point two of them begin to act out of character and unexpectedly switch allegiances as the minidrama unfolds.

Agnieszka Gratza Art Forum

Funding credits

Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF) and Leeds Beckett University.