Content warning: discussions of the tragic fire and loss of life at Grenfell Tower in 2017.
On 14 June, 2017, a fire broke out at Grenfell Tower in west London; a tragedy in which 72 people died. In December 2017, artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen created a film of the tower, seeking to create a record of the site of the tragedy before it was due to be covered in hoarding and hidden from sight.
Four years after the publication of the Phase 1 report of Government's Grenfell Tower Inquiry, the report's recommendations have yet to be implemented. No individuals or institutions have been prosecuted. The destruction and the burnt shell of the Tower is still covered up with hoarding.
The film, screening at Serpentine South Gallery this April and May, is a straight recording of Grenfell six months after the tragedy, without narrative or people in it. Filmed from above in a helicopter, it's a non-commercial project that won't be broadcast or screened on TV; the intention of McQueen (Turner prizewinner, Oscar winner, and west Londoner for his formative years) is for the recording to act as a memorial to the tragedy, and to keep it present in the national consciousness despite whatever physical or figurative covering up takes place.
The Serpentine notes on their website that the screening will include a space to pause, rest and reflect in the galleries.
You can read more about Grenfell by Steve McQueen, including information about the filming and consultation with bereaved and survivors of the Grenfell fire, on the official website for the film.
Grenfell by Steve McQueen is screening at Serpentine South from 7 Apr-10 May, 2023. Book free tickets in advance.