Friday, 16 September 2016

Unfound Peoples Videotechnic: Alpha Semester Graduate Screening in Split

Following a harrowing semester in which students grappled with modules such as Mythology of the Self, Rotting the Image, and Setting Your Attitude In Stone, the first ever class of the roaming UPV film and video school are to present their coursework for the public’s appraisal. 

Each of the students created a series of one-minute films in response to the aforementioned topics, contributing to a program of true range and appeal. The Videotechnic took place at Kino Klub Split in April of this year, where the students were aggressively reprogrammed with a warped practical history of artist-oriented film and video. 

Furthermore, the Videotechnic’s principal, failed filmmaker turned guru Graeme Cole, will present the work in progress of his Kino Klub-inspired new video, created as part of an artist’s residency at Kino Klub Split. There will be a brief introduction, and a Q&A at the end, after which those students who graduate will be freed to the outside world to pursue careers of unparalleled artistic excellence and enviable economic stability. 

The screening is open and free to all who wish to attend. It should take less than 2 hours. 

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

EVENT: Unfound Peoples Videotechnic: Graduate Screening 
WHERE: Kino Klub Split, Ulica slobode 28, 21000 Split 
WHEN: Sunday, 18th September 2016, 20.00 
COST: FREE


Saturday, 27 August 2016

Sarajevo-Split Log 1

"In the time when there was the law that people were not fully responsible for the crime they commited [sic], during stormy weather along Adriatic Coast. (Because there was a southern wind (Yugo) which made people depressive.)"

So reads the .srt introducing the start of the late Montenegrin filmmaker Živko Nikolić's peculiar 1977 little-islander flick, Beštije (Beasts). Coming on like Jean Rollin without the boobs, or even Peter Greenaway without the rhythm, Beštije dwells in uncanny territory, shot on location in the castle town of Kotor, but lit and performed with such artifice that it feels like a claustrophobic chamber play.


I don't think it gives too much away to point out that the only beasts in Beasts are of the humaine kind, a cast of self-interested eccentrics on one side and army of indistinguishable babas on the other, variously trying to shag, lynch, or bury alive a pale stranger who arrives on the island one rainy night (when morning is finally portrayed in the epilogue, the very concept of daylight feels alien). Neither does the wind make much of a an appearance; a relief to me, as I was already discomforted by the introductory lines, having chosen at random to watch this movie on the very day I commenced editing the as yet untitled but Yugo-wind themed video we shot in May as part of my Kino Klub residency.


I've been in Sarajevo for a week, to commence the second part of my Balkan residency (vagaries of scheduling compelled me to switch the Zagreb section of my itinerary for Sarajevo, although I'll still reach Split as planned in the second week of September). My time here will be divided fourfold: the festival; a second, youth film festival; completing the aforementioned wind work ahead of Split; and trying to draw out some connections between the Sarajevo Kino Klub scene and its more celebrated equivalents in Split, Zagreb and Belgrade.


Friday, 1 July 2016

It's Nick's Birthday in London

The Institute's short DIY musical It's Nick's Birthday will close the 2nd Slow Cinema Symposium at UCL next Friday. Please note, director Graeme Cole will tragically not be in attendance.

PROGRAM: Shorts 4
WHERE:  UCL Malet Place Eng 1.02, UCL Institute of Archaeology - 31-34 Gordon Square - London, WC1H 0PY
WHEN: Friday, 8th July 2016, 16.00-18.00 (symposium starts 09.30)
COST: FREE with registration 
NOTES: Some kind of talk with leading man Stewart Lockwood is likely to unfold.



Thursday, 12 May 2016

Split Log 7

Out to shoot the wind, but the rain stole the show. The elements make for a flaneur's shot list: the shape of the city mutates when you're hunting for meteorological rather than economic or social currents. Split is full of - almost structured around - strange dead spaces, squares that no-one gathers on, paths that are crossed only laterally, semi-abandoned brutalist playgrounds, idealistically composed but lifeless would-be social spaces. There's another movie in there, or perhaps an opera of echoes; but for now, we follow the wind.




Sunday, 1 May 2016

Split Log 6

Mihovil Pansini called his Zagreb ‘anti-films’ a “visual acoustic phenomenon” but it is the middle word that best evokes the feeling, of vibrations on air, of an architectural space to be filled, of an in-between rather than a finite surface. His opposite number on the coast, Ivan Martinac, regarded his own pictures as “films of state”, pyschogeofilmic distillations of a/the “shared otherworldliness” of Split on small format stock. Despite my narratively-oriented work, I feel closer thus far to these Croatians than the distant Belgrade Klub with all their ‘plot’ and “unembellished reality”. It is not so much that I have lost the plot, as that it has dissolved: in the spirit of Martinac and Pansini, hoovering up their images with scant regard for causality, and in unnerving contrast to my infamous Nexus residency in which I literally pre-scripted every minute of the whole three month trial, I have drifted these weeks, absorbing information and experience like a sponge, releasing pungent drips when squeezed by the participants of the Unfound Peoples Videotechnic.

The workshops have progressed well: the participants are broadminded, self-determined and curious, with a healthy dose of dissidence. Despite labelling this inaugural program UPV’s ‘Alpha Semester’, though, it remains very much a beta proposition: I am as yet unsatisified with both form and content, but these are early tests that need to be made, the felling of outlying trees (with attendant squirrel carnage) necessary to get our tractors to the rich bounty at the heart of the forest. We have, I believe, struck a nice balance of my meaningless English-language blather prompting homework assignments of serious enquiry inspired by mis- and partial-understandings of the obscure words and unstable theories asserted in class by a professor who must, above all else, profess to be a terrible speaker.

The Institute’s enemies will be bitter to hear it’s going so well that we have decided to extend my time at the Kino Klub for a few extra weeks. Research into the culture and history of the Kino Klubs, combined with preparing the workshops, has eaten into the time that I had hoped to devote to putting a new video together. Inspired by those historic enclaves of young (mostly) men, engaged in their ideas and their surroundings, creating and solving their own artistic problems, entitled, imprisoned and inspired, I hope I can work something out with their (mixed) spiritual descendents. As a pack-dog, a member of one official, one unannounced, and thirteen secret artist collectives, anyway, it is an unpassable opportunity to hole up in a Klub of huge cultural importance for a few weeks, to steal and to leak esoteric techniques and forge some irreverent tribute to the Yugoslavian ‘amateurs’ who changed the direction of Balkan film and art. I hope to warm up the sensors in the first couple of weeks of May.


Gastrodimensional cake-chart illustrating total of work yet to be achieved.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Split Log 05

The birds are chirping, although there’s no sign yet of the sun. I envy them their circadian rhythms, behaviour as secret information. I have become convinced that my own rhythms have become faulty, my feelings – which perhaps I should have left at home – ebbing and flowing with the unpredictability of the capricious Dalmation winds. Meanwhile, my information sources are wholly orthodox: books, videos, the internet, the flawed recollections of other people. They are reforming as quivering inaccuracies in my mind and, occasionally, as words on the internet or out of my mouth.

Saturday, we officially – but without ceremony – inaugurated the Unfound Peoples Videotechnic at Kino Klub Split (a temporary lodging for a roaming academy). The opening lecture, titled Mythology of the Self, seemed to be well-received by our historic initial cohort. It was a relief just to get through the damned thing without running out of things to say or being assaulted or, worse, called-out. I hope it was of some use, but in developing a total filmmaking education program (indeed, it is billed as a radical de-programming reprogramming program) this first lecture can only be regarded as the damping of the nib. It was far too factual, if my opinions were admirably smeared into the raw information, and with too many references to the ‘real world’. In preparing (destroying) a limited edition .pdf of notes for participants to take away with them, I began to find a greater poetry in omission and deliberate obfuscation; words, as some wise old chap once said, are given to us to hide our true meaning. I’m running an artist’s workshop, not a cooking show.

My own studies, however, focussing presently on the Kino Klub movement, are drawn into a peculiar dichotomy of word and sound-image: the Klubs’ golden era, the hub of their collective thematic resonances, was half a century ago; the movies of the time are largely wordless, but are explained in a tornado of written manifestoes, articles and histories which variously overlap, correct and contradict each other. It’s most inspiring, all this writing, and a curious analogue to what would have been the equivalent had I ‘been there’ – conversation, both languid (lazy young revolutionaries pushing ideas around with twigs on the beaches of Split) and quasi-diplomatic (the minuted, numbered and catalogued ‘discussions’ of Zagreb’s smoky projector rooms). Of course, I wouldn’t have understood a word if I’d ‘been there’. Maybe that would have engendered a more appropriate feeling. Certainly, I’m enjoying (and understanding) the films more on a collective level, starting to feel I know the filmmakers (which I never will) better than I know the films (which I have watched repeatedly). Projections…

Your corrections are welcomed in the Comments box.


Sunday, 10 April 2016

Split Log 04

Dazzled by words and light, unable to form the former or comprehend the latter, for now a synthesis of both in the precisely 11,000 as-yet unphotoshopped words below. Logging with words-words is proving somehow unnatural for now. Embiggen for detail.












Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Split Log 03

Scouting for locations, feelings, in Omiš.