Friday, 18 December 2015

Tea Leaf is rhyming slag for thief

For me the year 2015 pivots around the month of May. The election day of May 7th returned the first Conservative majority government for the first time since 1992. This government, unhindered by the foppish Liberals who had been propping up their illegal coalition since 2010, has been handed carte blanche to wreak further havoc on people's lives. Against the backdrop of their manifesto, which outlines their intention to scrap the human rights act (without a hint of irony in the year that 800 years of Magna Carta was slobbered over by the Royals and politicians at Runnymede), cutting housing benefit to those on job seeker's allowance, and continuing the backdoor privatisation of the NHS, their election win triggered a feeding frenzy amongst the property developer speculative class. Many of these are former Tory ministers and advisors, making use of the revolving door that rotates between the public and private sector, industry and finance. 

I don't think I have ever felt more despondent than I did on May 8th when those of us in struggled to comprehend how anyone could have voted for such a venal, self serving and cruel government..we were suddenly surrounded by a sea of Tory blue..The revelation that the prime minister had committed necrophilic bestiality on his road to power provided some light relief but shows they will stop at nothing, and are willing to commit whatever acts they must to hold power, was swept up in this property mania, as our landlords celebrated their parties' win by deciding to put our building up for sale, cancelling all lease negotiations and forcing precarity on the space and communities who use them here. Under the cardboard rocks where they live, cartoon lobsters and fish chairs wearing Campbell's soup cans slithered up the stairs, followed by suited and money stuffed briefcase clutching G-Men..

With all of this despondence dominating the first half of the year, the latter half has been fighting back - registering as an asset of community value and fighting off two attempts by their solicitors to overturn this status, and forcing them to recognise the voice of this community. 

May also saw the launch of Tyburnia, a film whose title comes from property speculators rehabilitating a name for the Marble Arch area which had been erased several centuries before due to it's associations with public execution. Taking in contemporary politics, events, demonstrations as well as historical relics from executions, the film weaves in and out of the past and present, demonstrating through song and image the never changing relationship between those that have power and those who do not. 

Looking forward, the future is in collective opposition to what is happening in Tower Hamlets, London, and across the UK and beyond, in making work together about what is happening using the resources here, sharing equipment and knowledge..

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Thoughts about a dear friend...

As he did for many people, Al Rees was the first person to introduce me to experimental film. The depth of it was such that 19 years later, i still remember those first films he showed when we first met. He opened up entire new possibilities to me with his wit, depth, imagination and rigour. Whilst i was a student he indulged my initial scepticism and then encouraged my growing awareness. Then later he became a comrade and friend, supporting the ideas and energy that would emerge as He agreed to join our advisory board, to write and programme for us, and to council us when we asked (which we did often). And though he was ill for many years, he never complained, but met us with his energy and love. I will forever respect how he never folded on his position, or belief in the experimental film he favoured. His influence on me was huge, and I think of him as my cultural father, as do many. It is not an exaggeration to say it was an honour to know him, to break bread with Al and Angela, and to work together. (Brad)

In the mid nineties I had not long started an MA at the Royal College of Art where I happened upon a staircase that led out of the then Film and Television department to a non space, an autonomous zone, a cupboard filled with the most unusual collection of VHS tapes. The keeper of this archive, of these radical and inspiring materials was A.L. Rees. It was not long after him and his cupboard arrived that like me, a few other students across different departments found him, and in turn we found each other. Unplanned and unscripted we would spend hours whiling away the time together, watching and discussing film, art, politics, literature in the most radically informal deep conversations. This was and will always be the best part of my education as a student at the RCA. I also had the pleasure of being his colleague for many years at the RCA, which opened up another dimension to our friendship, his ongoing support for my filmmaking which in turn supported my ideas to have a place in the world. His enduring commitment to artists and filmmaking through his years of crossing from one end of London to the other to attend’s board meetings. When Al was present we always had the finest laugh, and fun at what could have been at best tedious and bureaucratic. Over the years the numerous and multiple events, screenings and performances that we shared together as friends. The long afternoons spent at the house with the fabulous artist Angela Allen, Al and the cats, always leaving Plumstead so much more relaxed and a few pounds heavier than when we both (Brad & I) had arrived. Al was friend, mentor, guide, critic, colleague and most of all a beautiful radical soul that will be dearly missed in our lives. (Karen)

I first met Al in a pub in Swiss Cottage after a screening, we talked for a while and it was only later that I realised this was the same man who had written Experimental Film and Video, which was hugely influential on me as well as so many others. It opened my eyes to so many aspects of working with the moving image I was utterly unaware of. I will remember Al Rees as a someone who was always ready to listen, share ideas and advice, and for the clarity of insight, wisdom and experience he could bring to overcoming a problem or finding a solution. He told me once that every time he went past the site of Tyburn Gallows in Marble Arch that he would raise his hat and say a prayer to the memory of the dead, and I am holding this generous and touching act in my mind in the week of his passing. (James)

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Inferno - Hand Tinting Workshop

Inferno! from nowhere london on Vimeo.

Hand Processed Colour Negative Experiments

The Making and Reimagining of Industrial Park with Lucy Pawlak and Mao Mollona

Working with artist Lucy Pawlak and writer and anthropologist Mao Mollona Drawing on scholarly debates on melodrama, popular TV genres such as telenovelas and politics, we will worked with Patricia Galvao’s Industrial Park a modernist masterpiece on the lives of the working-class in Sao Paulo. We worked together to make and edit a few scenes which were then shown the following evening. By looking at the film process as labour process, we  investigated the politics of labour representation, filmmaking and alienation.

Reflections on Avery Gordon's Workshop for the summer school

Write for the allotted time. When you are finished writing your scene, pass it on to the person next to you. That person should continue writing the scene for the next allotted time.
It is an exceptionally sunny day at the beach. Three friends are emerging from the sea having been for a swim. They lay on their stomachs and allow the tide to wash them up on the pebbled yet corse surface. As each crashing wave comes in over them, they inch further towards the dry baking pebbles of the beach. Further afield a loving couple sit in their leather upholstered car which is situated on a bank as they survey the coastline. The sun's glare bounces joyously off of their purple car bonnet. 
. . . A babies belching can be heard, her violet dress is constricting and doesn't sit well with her rather restless composure. She is in front, her car seat facing the coastline too. Mum and dad are silent, the scene allows them time alone but still together and with their daughter. Down on the lower road some boy racers are revving their engines. Josie, in her dress is reassured by the noise, she's thumping her hands on the dashboard and flapping her legs. One shoe drops and a frilly white sock is left half off. 

I liked Avery Gordon's interest in how artist's and theorists can use fictional or narrative writing as an alternative way of expressing there concepts, ideas, theories ect. as opposed to conventional essayist writing. Which reminded me of this theoretical-fiction novel called Cyclonopedia text by Reza Negarestani.

NOTEWORTHY RESOURCES [1] as suggested by one Summer School Participant



1. Berlinale Talents is the annual summit and networking platform of the Berlin International Film Festival for 300 emerging film creatives from all over the world. The next edition of Berlinale Talents takes place Feb 7- 12, 2015

2. Good program, good place. One of the best places to see good films in New York:
3. This is a beginner's guide to distributing and promoting artists' film and video work by LUX.
4. The minimum knowledge to see Symbiopsychotaxiplasm:
5. A space to rediscover the Film & Visual Studies.

6. The best book in Film Curatorship. Also it’s recommended to check the other books of film museum, the institution founded by Peter Kubelka. For example the James Benning's one or “Film Unframed. A History of Austrian Avant-Garde Cinema

7. This is an example of video programs made by the mirror of Lux in Austria: Sixpackfilm.
Also check the resources and the catalog obviously.
8. The Oberhausen Seminar:



9. Frequently Asked Questions about Film Entry in Rotterdam:



10. A bibliography selection by the "Society for Cinema and Media Studies":


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Sustained Condition - Facilitated by Patrick Staff and Cara Tolmie

The Summer School group worked with Patrick Staff and Cara Tolmie to plot strategies that both cinema and theatre may offer to the 'moving image', through a sustained examination, repetition and potential re-structuring of a single short video clip.
Here is a short video made from some experiements:

Phil Minton and the Summer School make a feral choir in one day



A beautiful camera that i eagerly anticipated to use. This camera can be quite an intimating machine and i was it was quite a daunting experience to load the film into the Bolex. However with some assistance and guidance from the team i got there. I was ready to go and film!

I had a slightly questionable light measure reader that i had just acquired in a charity shop, and this caused a lot of problems while wondering around the mixed ponds in Hampstead health. To add to this the Bolex is a heavy camera and i would definitely take this into consideration next time i decide to go off for a long walk! That said, once i had everything in check i started to really enjoyed the process of filming.

The aim of the day was to have fun with camera and to understand the standard mechanics of the Bolex. When filming there are several important points that i kept a look out for, such as the frame rate. Also important to note which happened to me more than once, you must remember to keep winding the camera up, otherwise you will find your filming cut short.

I found the below link helpful with general accepts of the Bolex-

Image by James Holcombe