Tutor: Lydia Beilby
Across five sessions we will explore the exciting and innovative work of pioneering experimental filmmakers, both contemporary and historical. With a focus on work made with photochemical (celluloid) film, we will look at ways in which moving image evokes, reflects and distorts experience. How it might entangle the personal and political, and act as a powerful marker for memory and self reflection.
Led by artist and curator Lydia Beilby, this course does not require any prior knowledge of experimental film, just an inquisitive approach. Across a series of screenings and open, convivial discussions we will investigate ways in which to engage with and speak about artists’ moving image, and the ideas and feelings it evokes. On a practical level, this course will be beneficial for filmmakers/ artists looking to incorporate experimental elements/ approaches into their own work, as well as those interested in developing a practise in curating artists’ moving image.
SESSION 1: City and Wilderness
How do artists use moving image to explore personal space? What are some of the ways that film might be used to evoke not only an essence of a place, but the layers of presence and memory contained within it?
– Experimental film practise as a means to create a document or portrait (and how this differs from a more conventional ‘documentary’ model)
– Innovative approaches to sound design, and what this adds to the work in terms of texture and emotional engagement
– Objects/ archive/ ephemera as a way of evoking a subject
SESSION 2: Materiality as a Mirror
How have artists engaged filmic language in order to explore both structural elements (relating to the material, apparatus and processes of photochemical film) as well as deeply personal concerns?
– Filmmaking process as reflexive autobiographical inquiry
– Perspectives and capturing ‘reality’. To what extent does the filmmaker mediate a performed sense of ‘reality’ for the camera?
– The domestic reframed as radical expression
– Brakhage as a key figure in avant garde film of the 20th century
– A contemporary questioning of the experimental film ‘canon’. What voices have been included/ excluded? can we reassess so-called canonical works/ auteurs?
SESSION 3. The Feminist Avant Garde & The London Film-makers Co-op.
The London-Filmmakers’ Co-operative was a dynamic nexus in the creation and distribution of artists film and video in the 1960’s and 1970’s. From it too, sprung a wealth of incredibly exciting work by female filmmakers, fusing feminist principles and aesthetic innovation
– Seizing the means of production: feminist narratives and experimental visual language
– Modes of organising: LFMC as a dedicated space for making/ screening work/ sharing knowledge & ideas, as well as providing a distribution arm for members’ work
– Photochemical filmmaking as a political act!
– The innovative handling of text and language (filmic & spoken) in these works
SESSION 4. Curating contemporary experimental film
Contemporary experimental filmmakers are constantly establishing new visual language and forms of expression reflecting on urgent social, political and cultural concerns. In this session we celebrate some such works and explore the creative act of curation of artists’ film and video.
– Curating a programme of short form works and considering: tone, rhythm, atmosphere, texture, positioning, overarching concepts and themes.
– Platforms: online, film festivals, galleries, Co-ops, DIY organisations. Is how and where we see a film of importance to our emotional and experiential participation?
– Film formats and the importance of materiality. Experiential cinema and Expanded performance
SESSION 5. The Exquisite Corpse
In this final session we will embark upon a collective curatorial experiment, taking its structuring principle from the surrealist parlour game ‘The Exquisite Corpse’.
Inspired by the things we have seen and discussed in previous sessions, each participant will have sourced and selected a short-form work that they will contribute to our collectively conceived film-collage. We will watch and discuss this playfully composed selection, whose form, tone and content will remain a mystery until it is screened! Will embracing chance and spontaneity help us to think through approaching curation in non-linear, experimental ways?
-Summing up of key ideas and themes from course
-Questions, reflections, how participants plan to move forward with areas we’ve explored
Please note: all sessions will be conducted via Zoom. We would ask you to download this in advance and make sure you have a stable internet connection, but you do not need to have a Premium account.
Students, anyone over the age of 65, and those in receipt of any form of benefits can claim the concessionary price, offering a 10% discount on the full course price. Valid proof of eligibility must be produced on the first day of the course. Please use the code CONCESSION when prompted at checkout.