Video work can be a testing ground for new ideas and concepts, collaboration, performance and investigation. Over the course of three screenings Space In Between present the work of twelve artists whose use of film, story telling, performance, imagined narratives, staged scenarios and chance informs their wider artistic working practice as well as the making of the films we showcase.
Ben Jeans Houghton
TSU was made as part of a residency at Wheatley Hill Primary School in the North East of England. The school’s basis for learning is an innovative child-led program, which involves the children creating a story at the beginning of the year that acts as a narrative through which all aspects of the empirical curriculum are delivered.
Working with all six year-groups, the artist combined aspects of each child’s story with his own prose and writing, creating a narrative of a future, spoken in the past tense, by an omniscient narrator. This imagined history plays out over disparate images ‘collected in the aftermath of a Tsunami’.
The still images are taken from found 35mm slides, scavenged from the back lanes and pre-demolition buildings of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and the film was shot both in the school and at a derelict magnesium processing factory on the North East coast.
In Cliff Hanger no. 14 the artist holds on to a cliff edge for as long as his hands and arms can support him, or until the earth breaks away from under his grasp and he falls. Each time he falls down, he gets back on to his feet as quickly as possible and runs back to the cliff face to repeat the action. He repeats this until he is too exhausted to continue.
The work is focused on an exploration of repetition as well as on an attempt to do something - to complete something- that may, or may not, be possible.
What is at first simply an attempt soon becomes a measure of endurance or a realisation of not being able. The artist eventually has to stop, and therefore fail to realise his intention. It is the moment of failure that marks the point where the activity becomes the work.
All the different ways I love you (endlessly)
In All the different ways I love you (endlessly) the artist uses the screen as a homogenous space within which the apparatus for making, displaying and projecting are translated in to one medium.
Through the technique of montage, apparently unrelated images precede and follow each other reminding us to look - and to look again - as shifting viewpoints continue to alter our fixed position.
Through what is not there and what it is that connects these images the artist creates a sense of loss and a search for information. But she also creates a digitalized space within which the viewer is allowed to see what cannot be seen outside of this realm – like the manipulation and slowing down of the film and the deliberate display of the shutters gate.
Matthew De Kersaint Giraudeau
Disruptive Histories: Tatlin Tower
Tatlin Tower is a film about the militant political history of Liverpool made in collaboration with the artists Penny Whitehead and Daniel Simpkins.
In the last twenty years the landscape of Liverpool has dramatically changed: Redevelopment has shifted a declining post-industrial city into a new millennium of cultural tourism and the radical political history of a city whose council was once controlled by the Militant Tendency – a hard leftist group operating within the British Labour Party – has been all but buried.
Tatlin Tower tells a serious story about politics and art in the style of an anecdote shared between friends. As the narrated story develops, the object in the video slowly inflates; revealing another way in which ideas can slowly change over time.
The Ordnance Diary is a poetic journey through the English landscape, which draws from a long literary and artistic tradition of ‘the journey’ as a format for exploring the transience of nature and our own existence.
Using cinematic techniques such as camera obscura the artists create a film which unveils in a dreamlike way, inviting the viewer to create his or her own narrative.
In the meetings of man and nature, speed and silence, tensions are born that seem to unite and then release in the film’s final sequences.
Screening view 10.3.11
Untitled (half) is a performance to the camera; the performer enters, carrying rubber wellington boots and places them on the floor before filling them with vodka and putting them on. He waits for the vodka to take effect. The performer turns, picks up a paint brush and carefully, but in free hand, paints the text “I am trying to form a connection” on the wall.
The text is then continued as he writes about the work he is trying to make and what he is trying to do. When the text is complete, the performer walks off set.
Untitled (half) is about the act of making art and about trying to form a real connection to an idea or a person. It highlights the importance of what, and how, art communicates and shows the creative process as the work itself. Throughout the process we witness the artist/ performer almost become stuck between two conflicting narratives: The decisiveness and intent required by a script and the unclear, and yearning, nature of the text that unfolds as a result of the directions and the wrong-footed intake of vodka.
Nelly Ben Hayoun
Suzy, Passion: Whale
In Suzy, Passion: Whale the artist follows the story of Suzy, a Hungarian living in London who runs a business with her boyfriend Rocky selling paper bags. Suzy also has a passion for whales, which leads the viewer to witness the rather unusual ritual she performs every Sunday.
Through this film we are allowed to see a kind of ‘hidden strangeness’ in Suzy that we are invited to indentify with.
Suzy, Passion: Whale challenges our perception of the boundaries between reality and fiction by encouraging us, through surreal interactions, to find an alternative reality.
Simon Linington & William Mackrell
Band Practice is a video documentation of an experiment during which the artists attempt to achieve balance through collaboration.
As they take it in turns to firstly stand a piece of card on end, and count “1,2,3…” they attempt to keep the card upright by blowing it from either side.
After a lot of practice the two artists learned to sit an approximate distance away from the card, and to not blow as hard as they can but as much like each other as possible. The careful balancing of the card hinges on their joint uncertainty of moderating the power at which they blow.
Band Practice is the artists’ first recognized collaboration, focusing on their shared exploration of repetition as well as that of attempting to do something - to complete something- that may or may not be possible.
Lucie Galand & Robbie Lockwood
It’s our fault that we are here
In It’s our fault that we are here a negotiation is taking place in a London park, around the camera, between three characters, and the resulting film is a story within a wider narrative where personal interests collide with authority.
In recent years changes in the rules surrounding private and public space have combined with irrational and universal fears of threats such as terrorism and pedophilia, resulting in changes in the law as well as to what is acceptable, and not acceptable, in terms of filming and photographing.
By showing what would usually be unseen, or edited out, the artists present a dynamic sketch from the ‘out take’, within which new narratives are found, and chance happenings become the work.
Exercise Colour Arrangement, Ascending Tower 103 is a film documentation of an architectural intervention and performance that the artist made in collaboration with the residents of 103 Hyundai apartment tower and Seoksu Market in Seoul, South Korea.
Seoksu Market is one of a few traditional undeveloped areas left in Seoul and as such is a diverse island amongst the homogenous landscape of the surrounding apartments.
The project aims to address the issues surrounding this rapid urban redevelopment by connecting the horizontal and vertical spaces of the tower block and the market below: This is achieved by installing a temporary colour intervention on the facade of Tower 103, in which residents on every floor hang coloured fabric out on their balcony rail. Inhabitants of the towers selected the colour of their fabric from an edited chart and decided when to display and remove their flag, within a 30minute period.
An accompanying sound piece was composed by translating the architectural colour arrangement in to a musical score by assigning musical pitches to the colours of the fabric.
Each sound was generated by recording the voices of the Seoksu Market residents singing a colour of their choice that had a predetermined /corresponding musical note. This method follows the same structure as the Schoenberg 12 tone compositional technique.
The outcome of this performance relied heavily on the individual participants as well as their synchronised participation as a group. The two groups were invited to make their decisions within the choreographed structures presented to them by the artist and it is this which determines the sonic and aesthetic arrangements within the work.