Eyes Wide Open – Jan 08 open screening at the Star and Shadow

Eyes Wide Open – Jan 08 open screening at the Star and Shadow

adrin neatrour writes:The Jan open screening was remarkable for the broad range of material screened and the extent to which the viewings were testimony to a state of affairs in which film rages across the landscape as a force that that is alive and vibrant.Eyes Wide Open –  Jan open screening at the Star and Shadow featuring Filmmakers:
Craig Wilson; Mat Fleming; Brian ? ; Conor Lawless; Brighid Mulley. Irit Batsry; Tina Gharavi; Bill Ormond; David Aspinal, the Koreshi Brothers; Adrin Neatour; Unknown German Film Maker(UGFM)

Seen at Star and Shadow Cinema 24 Jan 08.   Cost of entry – free for contributing film makers; non contributors: £4 and £3

Seeing’s believing

The Jan open screening was remarkable for the broad range of material screened and the extent to which the viewings were testimony to a state of affairs in which film rages across the landscape as a force that that is alive and vibrant.

The films viewed ranged in type from the tactile explorings of Brigid Mulley’s Fibres, the visual humour of  Brian ?’s level crossing gates to  Adrin Neatrour’s  political statement, Echolalia.  There was also material from other times so to speak, or at least from the ‘80s including the agitprop of Bill Ormond piece, a film in grand style about a grass roots movement in Newcastle opposing the extension into a public park  of the city’s football stadium;  Craig Wilson’s architypal punk video, Dead Boards,.  In the homage section there were two films: Tina Gharavi’s Two Lighthouses remembering the poetry of Julia Darling and Irit Batsry’s  1989 video of Joanna Peled’s remarkable performance of the 4th sentence of Joyce’s Molly Bloom soliloquy .  Most of the films screened were about film as a type of seeing: the filmmakers made use of film as an expressive form choosing to use possibility of film because it was the only medium which could tell what they saw – using the verb ‘to see’ in its wide  sense to embrace perception understanding and ordering of reality as well as the pure visual faculty.  

Conor Lawless’ Midio Vampyros Lesbos uses acquired footage which he modifies through his own software.  In his film the picture and sound were run through a programme so that the individual notes in the Bach fugue triggered a picture in the looped footage of the same durational value as the note.  On viewing the film engendered a mild disoriented state.   I struggled to piece together what was happening.  It was a pure film field in which mind experienced a certain sort of assault on its processing capabilities. But there was no other intention other than effect.  As such it was like a media film lab experiment and the subject/partipant  knowing the intention of the film was pure effect, could open up to  the stream of images and sound allowing the effect to permeate and infiltrate consciouness.  Nothing was being sold; there were no arrows of desire.  And Conor’s film was a trip. A pure optical sound experience that took all those firing neurons in your head and momentarily tripped and scattered them in different configurations.

The last film exhibited was shot and projected on super 8 and made by in the early 80’s by an unnamed german film maker (UGFM)working in France.  The scale of  buildings used to say something about their importance and also focused attention on their specific function: church and mosque. law courts and legislative builidings,  palaces theatres and cinemas.   The contemporary built environment is characterised by a giantism whose only rationalisation is the economics of intense land use. We struggle still, even given our familiarity with these spaces to cope with these  forms of modern architectural expression.   Modern urban projects create environments to which we don’t know how to react, spaces which we  don’t know how to describe and in which we still don’t know how to move our bodies,  Spaces which dwarf us and render us temporarily mute and paralysed.  We can’t easily possess these spaces.  They tend to take possession of us.  Graffiti and film are two modes of confronting(there are others) what is happening: graffiti  by claiming ownership of place,  film through its ability to be a force for understanding what is happening.  In film we can move through them with or without a shopping trolley with or without trying to mutiliate them.  As Deleuze notes they are not so much narratives as pure optical / sound  settings.  That is how we can approach them with our minds and bodies. 

The UGFM’s film is not in itself original but the film realises a particular vision of this world of concrete steel and cardboard.  Many of the settings and cityscapes captured have become familiar through contemporary film  content:  the  Autoroutes,  the vast housing projects, the rebuilt concrete town centres with their ramps and walkways, the shopping malls.  These images are easily usable as visual clichés, but the fact that they can utilised as lazy short hand images or cheaply won metaphors is no barrier to their incorporation in forms other than the cliché: as poetry or as building blocks or sets of statements.  Their use by the mind and the eye of the UGFM to reach into reality with a primal urge to make an utterance: in this case an  utterance in filmic form that exploits the melding soft dyes of colour super 8 to express something that only film could express with this intensity of realisation. The manner in which the human form is both absorbed alienated entrapped and bewitched and set to abrupt cosmic scale in these modern built environments.   The UGFM;s film perhaps not in itself original in the choice of its component parts, but it is an intense self validating response to contemporary settings and situations.
adrin neatrour

Author: Adrin Neatrour

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