Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Amateri in Sarajevo

Mr Cole's movie Amateri, or The Lost Innocents, will play at Sarajevo Film Festival next week. As you may remember, the video was produced as part of an artist residency at Kino Klub Split, and is a poetic interpretation and perversion of the history and culture of the Kino Klubs of the region of the former Yugoslavia.

EVENT: Amateri at Sarajevo Film Festival
WHERE: Art Cinema Kriterion, Obala Kulina bana 2, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia and Herzegovina
WHEN: Tuesday, 15th August 2017, 15.00 
COST: 5KM (€2.55) (buy online)

Monday, 7 August 2017

UNIVERSAL EAR: A Flea Orchestra In Your Ear is now online

The first episode of Mr Cole's artist film series UNIVERSAL EAR is now available to watch online in full.

UNIVERSAL EAR is a lost adventure serial charting Harley Byrne’s ongoing mission: to capture and make available for download “all the world’s music, ever.”

Mr Cole and his roaming, ever-evolving Universal Ear Studios team have made it their business to (p)reconstruct this unfound serial of the future, episode by episode into infinity. Other texts, videos and supporting experiments have also materialized.

A Flea Orchestra In Your Ear was produced during an artist residency at Nexus Art Cafe in Manchester in May 2010 and premiered at Abandon Normal Devices in August 2012. The film stars Stewart Lockwood and Tuesday Betts; music is by Aidan Smith.

In this episode,  heroic ex-postman Harley Byrne travels back in time to 19th century Romania, to record the world’s first ever remotely delivered electronic music. But while recovering from a dramatic splash-landing, he finds himself falling head-over-heels for his host, the sultry inventress Nola Luna. Is she really all she seems? Will she let him record her electronic ‘Orchitron’? Or will Harley Byrne finally be thwarted in his ongoing mission: to record and make available for download all the world’s music, ever?

A new episode of UNIVERSAL EAR will go into production during Mr Cole's forthcoming EMARE residency at Bandits-Mages in Bourges, France.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

A teabag theory of British fiction

In response to Ursula Le Guin’s Carrier Bag theory: a teabag theory of British fiction, where the mediocrity of e.g. detective shows* can be better exploited through exaggerated focus on the deep minutiae of daily life, the true (sometimes literal) ‘grit’ of Brexistence (sorry); a ground(s) up view of a mulchy society, every leaf brewed to stewing point for its hidden meanings/feelings, a ‘pata-kitchen-sink-reality found among the saturated biscuit crumbs.

*(which tend to look ridiculous next to the – also ridiculous – brashness of American ones; either too self-serious/Hollywood on a BBC budget or too false homey/Corrie-wood)

Trying to think of an example of this, I recalled the notes for a long-delayed ‘Epizoda ?’ sequel – featuring an older, shapeless, retired Detective Inspector Giffard shambling around his suburban semi in comfortable trousers and normcore Reeboks:
“Like the earlier show, the solitary episode we have appears to belong midway through a lengthy primetime television series. We’re under no illusions that this is anything other than a detective show: the wavelength, the frequency of the genre is inescapable. Neither is there any doubt that the situation is anything other than a marriage.
Giffard is retired now, his days spent around the house trying to piece together his wife’s life over the time they’ve been married. After all, they’ve spent the biggest part of their waking life together, apart.
We never really see ‘the wife’. In a perverse extension of the “’er indoors” tradition of off-screen police wives, Giffard refers to her in third-person through sideways glances, traced footsteps, and even on occasion commenting out loud as if to an invisible side-kick, e.g. “she’s gone for toast”. For although he is “indoors” with “’er” (or in the back garden, or briefly at the front gate), the camera remains fixed on him or the location or object he is examining in her wake.
A few times we catch the tail of her cardigan, although this appears to be an unintended result of some shoddy camerawork. And on one single occasion her bony hand alights on his without warning as he replaces a telephone handset in its cradle (she has just finished a call on the same telephone and he has picked it up afterwards and put it to his ear, as though there might be a witness or accomplice at the other end still chatting away). Although the couple touch out of shot elsewhere in the episode (i.e. the love scene in which we see him in person but her only in shadow), this one instance in which we see their skin touch creates an uncanny sense of revulsion in the viewer. Giffard seems to betray our hitherto unconscious identification with him, leaves our world (briefly) for hers, himself becomes part of the object while we are still bound up in his subjectivity
When we hear her talk, we are so caught up in his world that we don’t hear her as a TV character but as a recording, a record, a scrap of evidence or a tape with no label rediscovered and played back in the hope of upturning a secret or reliving a forgotten emotion.
What, if anything, does he suspect her of? An affair, a free will, an inner life, a change of heart, or a life lived parallel to his own – tracing the same route, the tracks never meeting? Or does he investigate her not out of suspicion but genuine fascination, or love, or boredom, or admiration, or for what it will reveal about himself? Only the most generic sense of ‘importance’ is placed on the idea of getting answers. We don’t discover what the detective finds out (about his wife); but we get the impression that we are no worse off, as he’s no better off, from this peculiar flow of information. The process is the same for he and us; wondering, looking, wondering some more.”
It’s one very specific example, and like Le Guin’s idea, the strength of teabag theory is in broader, deeper representations than that of fat old white blokes - including the complexity of histories that brought that teabag figuratively and literally to our chippéd mugs in the first place.

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Amateri in Split

Mr Cole's latest picture, Amateri, or The Lost Innocents, will premiere at Kino Klub Split in Croatia as part of the cineclub's 65th Anniversary celebrations.

The video was made in collaboration with the Klub during his artistic residency in April-May 2016, and is inspired by the club's specific history and the culture of the Kino Klubs of the region of the former Yugoslavia in general.

A selection of films made by the students of the Institute's roaming art school, Unfound Peoples Videotechnic, will also play.

EVENT: Amateri at Smotra Vi – 65 Godina Kino Kluba Split
WHERE: Kino Klub Split, Ulica slobode 28, 21000 Split
WHEN: Friday, 24th March 2017, 19.00
COST: Free

This project was supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England

Monday, 21 November 2016

Epizoda ? in Belgrade

Our Bosnian cop flick honours its third festival selection, at the Auteur Film Festival in Belgrade (Serbia), with a screening next week.

EVENT: Epizoda ? at 22nd Auteur Film Festival
PROGRAM: Brave Balkans
WHERE: Jugoslovenskak Kinoteka (Velika sala), Uzun Mirkova 1, Belgrade, Serbia
WHEN: Thursday, 1st December 2016, 21.00

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Recontres Bandits-Mages Program Notes

On Monday, our absurdist cop flick Epizoda ? had its international premiere at Recontres Bandits-Mage. The event's director Isabel Carlier asked me to select some films to play alongside our own, within the themes of this year's encounter. These are the program notes I composed for the event, including some thoughts on my 2017 residency at Bandits-Mages:

The three movies that form the program may not at first glance have much to do with each other. A meta-documentary on love and identity, a post-Tsukamoto monster romance, and a broken-down detective show. But each presents a vision of instability from their surface scaffolding, through their foundations, deep into whatever’s below. In each movie, the potential for transformation is hinted at, but it’s a transformation that is inseparable from destruction. The movies are maintained as much by the volatile portals that open up in the fissures as by the physical substance that weighs them down.

Kaori Oda’s Twitter biography used to read, “Am a camera”. Now it says, “filmmaker / log”. Her identification as a media cyborg does not preclude a profound and troubled humanhood. She watches and she records, but very quietly she also talks. ‘Thus a Noise Speaks’ is ostensibly about gender, sexual and family identity but the video’s mechanical exoskeleton is tangled in these vines. This is the digital human hybrid as a breathing video archive.

Ghazi Alqudcy has a morbid interest in the everyday and a healthy interest in the morbid. In ‘My Parents Are Animals’ we witness degradation, humiliation, excreta and noodles. A park, a kitchen, a doctor’s office become the showgrounds for subversion of the established social, physical and biological rules: yet love, as we know, remains a survival game requiring adaptation, submission, cruelty and affection.

Somehow the free-associating doctor of ‘My Parents’ is a cousin of Detective Inspector Colin Giffard, the English-named Bosnian detective of my own ‘Epizoda ?’. Giffard’s tragedy is that he is the privileged and inevitable outcome of a system to whose underlying code he has been refused access. As with ‘Thus A Noise Speaks’, the generic form and the wet content make for a pensive chimera; however, Kaori’s video nurtures an unpredictable potential for growth, while in ‘Epizoda ?’ we find only rot. Yet, both are processes that require the progress of time. When making ‘Epizoda ?’, I never asked myself if Giffard is searching for salvation: I only knew that this media dinosaur wanted to make it safely to the end.


When we virtualize our culture it becomes vulnerable to evaporating on a hot day or blowing away in the wind. Decay is history evolving. A stone monument remains alive even if blown apart. Its negative imprint stands sturdy in the memory dust. What do we mean when we talk about protecting our “way of life”? Can it be described as an endless reel of gestures and actions (with periods of snoozing)? Could we reduce it to a choreographic score, save it in scrolls and reanimate it? How different would the playback look if it was scored by Edvard Munch or Charles M. Schulz?

UNIVERSAL EAR is a lost adventure serial of the future, charting heroic ex-postman Harley Byrne’s ongoing mission: to capture and make available for download “all the world’s music, ever.”

Each episode sees Byrne travel to another time and place, where his efforts to find and record humanity’s rarest musics are hindered by his arch-enemy, Being, mysterious mistress of disguise.

It has become my own personal mission to (p)reconstruct these as yet unmade pocket adventures, one by one into infinity.

Inspired by recent developments in ‘virtual heritage’ – hologram Buddhas, hologram dead pop stars, 3D printed replicas of the still-smoking remains of Syrian monuments – I shall follow Harley Byrne to a future Bourges we don’t yet know: a future in which the concrete present overlaps with 3D, hologramatic and augmented reality meta-levels in a manner that is not so much ‘mixed-reality’ as ‘mixed-authenticity’.

What will the great-great-granddaughters of today’s heritage ministers consider important enough to preserve in ever-looping projections, town square battles and beheadings that recur in full digital fidelity each day with sharper regularity than the lighting of the street lamps? Which personal accomplishments and disasters will solipsistic curators make virtual space for in the alleys and byways of a city frozen in the past by the technologies of the future? What hymns to sing in the graveyards we’ll build for our virtual PA’s? What bitcrushed cries will echo through these temporal interstices with musical regularity?

Epizoda ?

My Parents Are Animals

Thus A Noise Speaks

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Epizoda ? in Barcelona

Our absurdist detective flick Epizoda ? will continue its festival run with two screenings at one of the Institute's favourite festivals, L'Alternativa in Barcelona (Spain).

EVENT: Epizoda ? at L'Alternativa, 23rd Barcelona Independent Film Festival
PROGRAM: Shorts 3
WHERE: Auditorium, CCCB, Carrer de Montalegre, 5, 08001 Barcelona
WHEN: Thursday, 17th November 2016, 19.15; Sunday, 20th November 2016, 16.45
COST: Enquire at venue.
NOTES: Mr Cole, the movie's director, will be present for the first screening.

Vladimir Kajević as
Detectiv Inspektor Colin Giffard

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Epizoda ? in Bourges

Epizoda ?, the new mid-length movie directed by the Institute's Graeme Cole, will have its world premiere at Rencontres Bandits-Mages 2016, in Bourges, France on November 7th.

Further, upon selection Mr Cole was invited to complete a 'carte blanche' of complementary movies, and thus the program will also feature films by the great Kaori Oda (Thus A Noise Speaks) and Ghazi Alqudcy (My Parents Are Animals). The event also prefigures an artistic residency as part of the EMARE program to take place in early 2017.

Epizoda ? is the first film to be completed by Mr Cole under the mentorship of Béla Tarr at the latter's film.factory in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is an absurdist detective movie following the disintegration of a fictional murder cop to whom the basic procedures of crime investigation remain, themselves, a mystery.

EVENT: Epizoda ? at Rencontres Bandits-Mages 2016
PROGRAM: Soirée Carte Blanche À Graeme Cole
WHERE: UCL Cinéma MCB°, Boulevard Georges Clemenceau, 18000 Bourges
WHEN: Monday, 7th November 2016, 21.00
COST: Enquire at venue.