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Retraining, 2009

High definition video, duration 9m50s

"Retraining, 2009 which was commissioned by the Saatchi Gallery New Sensations Prize, was written and directed by Oliver Beer. The film unveils the strangeness of telephone-counseling and training. The camera traces intimately over the faces of trainee telephone counsellors as they struggle with a role-play that teaches them how to listen. An actor plays out a story, written by the artist, telling of a woman whose mother is dying from Alzheimer’s disease: the trainees must adhere to a rigorous set of guidelines governing what vocabulary they can use and how they must structure their questions. The discomforting yet beautiful proximity of the cinematography channels the intensity and pressure of the situation directly onto the viewer with a brand of voyeurism which reveals our latent physical responses to listening."

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