Who are we – and who do we think we are? How do we make the selves we present to the world – and who are we really, underneath the social masks we wear every day? These are some of the questions posed by Self Made, an extraordinary debut feature by acclaimed British artist Gillian Wearing. A hybrid undertaking, Self Made is at once documentary, artwork, social experiment and performance project.

In 2007, Gillian Wearing placed an advert – in newspapers, online, in job centres and elsewhere. It read: “Would you like to be in a film? You can play yourself or a fictional character. Call Gillian.”

Of the hundreds of people who replied, seven ended up appearing in Self Made. Of those seven, five in particular use the acting technique known as Method to delve into their own memories, anxieties, fears, fantasies and inner resources to create a series of individual performance vignettes, their personal ‘end scenes’, that reveal with particular intensity and clarity who they really are deep down – or who, in another version of their lives, they might easily have been.

With the aid of Method teacher Sam Rumbelow, Wearing has made a film that poses pressing questions about individual identity, the way it functions in society, and the extent to which we all create our visible selves as a daily performance.

Director’s statement

Gillian Wearing and Sam Rumbelow will attend the screening

A discussion with the filmmakers will be hosted by Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith, Critic and Senior Lecturer at University College, Dublin.