Wednesday, 14 April 2010

UNIVERSAL EAR at Nexus Art Café

This May-June, L’Institute Zoom will begin reconstruction of the infamous lost adventure serial, UNIVERSAL EAR. Occupying Manchester’s Nexus Art Café studio, the Institute will create an open film set to which all are invited to observe and contribute.

The original UNIVERSAL EAR was an adaptation of the memoirs of Harley Byrne – arch-explorer and former postman – with each instalment recounting another of his adventures through space, time and sound on a mission to capture and make available for download “all the world’s music, ever.” Every week in May will see the (re)production of another episode, from Harley’s tussle with over-amorous humming killbots in 3000AD to his trip to the bottom of a teacup for The Song of the Biscuit Crumb Algae.

The Institute’s production schedule will be kept updated on the notice board in the entrance foyer of the café and at Café customers and curious cineastes alike are welcome to come through to the studio and hold a boom, paint a set, audition for a plum rôle or heckle gently from the sidelines. Various one-off training sessions and quasi-Redestructivish creative workshops will also be advertised in advance, and the production will be launched on the evening of May 6th with a grand Lumpenbal (rag ball) at Nexus Art Café.

For further information, please email info [at] The production will be documented publicly in the Nexus Art Café and online: (#UEar)

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Known to cineastes as one of filmmaking’s greatest follies, Francis Dove’s UNIVERSAL EAR is a rare and epic serial of which few can truly claim to have glimpsed, and none to have seen in its entirety. Shot in Manchester, 2012, with Harley Byrne starring as himself, traces of the original have been discovered by the Institute’s Future Films department using their modified 2D Quantum Propaganda Engine – a machine for dredging up cinematic artefacts that have not yet been created – and pieced together into a blueprint from which to start again. The ‘prehabilitation’ team, including director Graeme Cole and leading man Stewart Lockwood, will attempt to embody the spirit of the original 2012 crew in order to (p-)replicate the work as accurately as possible, whilst working with a fraction of the resources available to Dove and Byrne in the future.

In fact, the team will not even have the comfort of working on familiar terrain. Future Films’ lab at the Institute will be strictly off limits this summer while one of the major search engine companies maps the dynamic emotionality of the premises for its latest online cartography resource, an as-yet unnamed psychogeographic atlas of the known universe. Working instead from the studio of the Nexus Art Café, the production will actively seek support from the public in the form of voluntary participation and donations of obsolete clothing and objects to be re-imagined as costume and set. In return is offered the opportunity to train in the esoteric arts of Redestructivishm and to see the finished works broadcast to potentially hundreds of millions of people in art spaces, festivals and across the internet.

The permanent UNIVERSAL EAR crew also includes producer Nathan Povey; starlet Tuesday Betts as Byrne’s nemesis, ‘Being’; Peter Easterbrook as Harley’s brother, Santiago Byrne; Elly Strigner on Production Design; and Physical Welfare Enforcer, Fran Higginson; and intinerant Executive Producers Mick Sugden & Anselm Burke.

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