BAFTA’s winning artist filmmaker Yulia Mahr is to reveal her new video, Mercy, the second single from Max Richter’s forthcoming album release of Voices – a major new recording project inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights released via Decca Records. The film is an artistic response to our turbulent times and the human potential for compassion.
Mercy follows the release of the first single, All Human Beings, which is Richter’s fastest-streamed track on release reflecting a huge public response to the themes of the album.
At the heart of Voices is a profound sense of global community, born out of Richter and Mahr’s career-long stance that creativity can play an activist role in our world. In a time of dramatic global change, Mercy offers a moment for personal reflection. In the video, Mahr poignantly shines a light on our inner lives and leans on her own experiences.
Yulia Mahr said: ‘Mercy concentrates on our inner lives and the children we once were; every child in the video is a memory. The train is for me symbolic of the journey we are all on and works as a framing device to carry these stories.
‘I made a decision early on not to concentrate on the atrocities which continue daily to infringe on human rights and basic dignity around the world, but to focus the film on the human potential for compassion that these memories display. I took inspiration from my own memories of arriving in the UK aged seven, completely at sea in this new world. It all has such a dreamlike quality now.’
As the sole producer, director, writer and editor, Mahr likens her solitary film-making practice to literary creation. Working exclusively with pre-existing footage (archive, library, found, and stock clips), Mahr works with images as a poet does with words.
Yulia added: ‘I like the ecology of using found objects. I like the light environmental footprint that this creative process leaves. I’m always drawn to the way these images continue to carry their histories inside them while taking on new meaning by being juxtaposed against something unexpected.
‘I enjoy the discarding of filmic conventions, and the perspective I gain from my use of found footage also allows me the freedom to do that. In a way, lockdown was perfect for me. I don’t think anyone would have financed this kind of one-woman visual poetry before but under lockdown, all the rules changed.’
Mercy is the second video created by Mahr for Voices, following on from All Human Beings, and part of a longer project that’s a visual accompaniment to the music.
Richter and Mahr have worked together for over 25 years as part of Studio Richter Mahr, a collaborative home for their creative projects. At its core is the belief that creativity exists as a social project that can illuminate the lives of individuals and society as a whole, and that art exists beyond all boundaries.
Max’s latest work Voices published throu
Image credit: Freepik