Close Up

22 March 2018: Emplacing


UEL Moving Image Research Centre presents a programme looking at the relation of artist-filmmakers to urban and public space and the architectural endeavour. Featuring seven films by London-based artists, exploring the built, the un-built, the destroyed and overlaps between the architectural and filmic vision. Curated by Sharone Lifschitz, the screening will be followed by an informal Q&A with the artists.

The Black Friar
Frances Scott
2013 | 5’24 min | B/W | Digital

In 1275 the Dominican Friars of London moved their priory from Holborn, to a location between the Thames and Ludgate Hill. In 1538, it was closed during Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries. Much later, in 1875, the Black Friar public house was built there, upon the original site of the 13th century Dominican Friary. The Black Friar proposes a relationship between the speculative language employed by the redevelopment of these areas, and the form of the hypnosis script. Here a pre-emptive voice suggests a movement between archaeological pasts and futures, located beneath the site of a stopped clock.

Three Blind Men
Clara Kraft Isono
2014 | 3’52 min | Colour | Digital

In the parable of The Blind Men and an Elephant, a group of blind men learn to conceptualise what an elephant is by touching it. Each blind man feels a different part of the elephant body. They then describe the elephant based on their partial understanding and their descriptions are in complete disagreement on what an elephant is. To me, the experience of architecture is very much the same. While as architects we are taught to design and understand buildings as a whole, we rarely actually experience or inhabit them in that way. The film plays with a triptych of spaces of the Royal Festival Hall, constructing a reality, which is partial and fragmented but aims to create an understanding of the whole. 

An East End Soap Opera in Three Reasonably Distinct Acts
Marc Coker
2014 | 4’22 min | Colour | Digital

An East End Soap Opera is part of my practice which encompasses the Everyday. This part balances my output that incorporates film output that may have a long development and production. It was filmed and edited within twenty-four hours. East End Soap is part of a more spontaneous production that re-examines the everyday that we may take for granted and therefore warrant a fresh audio visual approach.” – Marc Coker

Johannes Maier & Paul Becker
2017 | 6’23 min | Colour | Digital

Congregation is a short film made up, as in the work of Dieter Roth, from images of the fronts of houses in Iceland. The houses are filmed in a crepuscular light; at twilight or just after dawn. These simple images are combined with the sound of a local folk songs sung by women and men. On top of these elements is the sound of a clearly spoken narrative, again voiced by a man and a woman, both part of a shared “church”. Their dialogue refers obliquely to an overwhelming, mysterious, cathartic, communal event: perhaps a powerful, non-religious spiritual experience.

And There Again
Richard Wentworth
2017 | 4’36 min | Colour | Digital

Improvised placement is a leitmotif of Richard Wentworth’s work. His recent book Making Do and Getting By is a record of his observations of human actions; the marks and traces left on the urban landscape. Happenstance – the public and the private, exchange and sharing – fuel his curiosity. Many of his photographs have been taken on walks through the streets of Islington, where he lives. “The city is full of bits of lost information – I have a great appetite for faults, breaks, cracks and seams.” In And There Again, Richard Wentworth walks the immediate area of Essex Road – impromptu observations, architectural details, clashes and collisions – “how things begin, how things meet, how things end”.

Karen Russo
2017 | 5’42 min | B/W | 16mm

TET-Stadt takes the viewer on a journey through majestic white buildings fronted by pyramid structures, suggesting a city of pharaohs. It is actually a recreation of a model of a 1917 Egyptian-themed urban project, conceived by the German biscuit manufacturer Hermann Bahlsen and designed by the Expressionist artist Bernhard Hoetger

For an Open Campus
Graham Ellard & Stephen Johnstone
2015 | 29 min | Colour | 16mm

Shot over four weeks in November 2014 on the campus of Aichi University of the Arts in Japan, designed by Junzo Yoshimura and opened in 1966, For an Open Campus explores the remarkable architecture of this "campus world" through the camera and through a group of students as they work together to produce a huge drawing and model landscape. This world, in which the design and organization of space is paramount, based on the concept that the main stage for the development of life on the campus is not in the buildings themselves but in its ‘interstitial spaces’, is captured at an extraordinary moment in its history. Poised for change it awaits a major re-building programme – the estate in casual neglect as plants, trees and wildlife slowly encroach, while academic life continues regardless. Meanwhile in parallel, a small group of students work together, totally absorbed, focused, silent, and completely immersed in the making of a large-scale drawing and model landscape.