Introducing the Winners of the CIRCA x Dazed Class of 2022

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CIRCA X Dazed Class of 2022
Mary MartinsPhotography by James Barber

Filmmaker Mary Martins has been chosen to receive the £30,000 #CIRCAECONOMY fund, while Daria Pugachova wins the £10,000 public vote

In June this year, the digital arts platform CIRCA announced an open call for the latest iteration of its ongoing partnership with Dazed, the CIRCA x Dazed Class of 2022. More than 1,000 artworks – themed on “A Future World” – were submitted to be judged by a panel of industry leaders, resulting in an exhibition of work by 30 rising talents on large-scale screens across the world.

This week, though, it was finally time to unveil the overall winner of the top prize: the £30,000 #CIRCAECONOMY fund. As revealed by Turner Prize-winning artist Laure Prouvost at London’s Piccadilly Lights last night, this honour went to the UK filmmaker Mary Martins, for her experimental animated documentary Something More.

Centred on youth knife crime in London, Something More tackles gentrification and social deprivation amid the contemporary economic and political climate, digging into root causes and problems within the criminal justice system. 

With the £30,000 prize money, Martins intends to create a film that highlights the history and ongoing importance of Brixton Recreation Centre, a Grade II listed building at constant risk of demolition. “Even with the challenges that the council may face in order to demolish the building,” says Martins, “the building and its historic significance is at risk of being eradicated, and subsequently the community that it represents [...] eradicating the physical preservation of Black British history and their sense of place.”

During the public ceremony, CIRCA and Dazed also announced the winner of the Class of 2022 public vote, with over 6,000 votes cast. The Ukrainian artist, filmmaker, and activist Daria Pugachova takes home the £10,000 prize. Her short film, MICROCOSMOS, sees her document life in the post-Soviet neighbourhood in Poltava, Ukraine, at the end of 2021, dressed as an astronaut.

Pugachova has previously said that she will put prize money toward creating a second part of the documentary, which would explore the lives of Ukrainian children who left the country following the outbreak of war (she herself left for Bulgaria). Two months after the film she submitted, she says: “War came in Ukraine and life in ‘microcosmos” has changed forever.”

Every filmmaker who made it into CIRCA x Dazed Class of 2022 had their work exhibited on public screens in London, Berlin, Seoul, and Melbourne throughout September. “The level of work is truly mind-blowing,” says Dazed founder Jefferson Hack on the entries. “The films tackle hard hitting issues from climate change to knife crime; they set out new agendas from Black trans representation and queer narratives to feminism and reclaiming space. This is futurism writ large on the biggest ad screen in Europe.”

 “The #CIRCAECONOMY £30,000 prize exists to create life changing opportunities for the next gen and wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of our exhibiting artists and everyone who purchased a print this past year,” adds CIRCA founder Josef O’Connor. “We couldn’t be prouder to partner again with Dazed and help lift up these 30 emerging talents, whose work shines a bright light into our future world.”

Revisit every film from the CIRCA x Dazed Class of 2022 here.