Oxford and Nottingham

Category: film

Extended Fictions – Going with the FLOW or not?

haunted house

Read more about this App here : Microsoft Apps

It has been a career-defining week so until the dust truly settles I not making any comments about my withdrawal from the Creative Writing M.A. other than these reflections on what I think is happening to fiction these days in general.

It was only after withdrawal that I started to consider what it was that I had wanted from the course rather than what the course offered me. There was no problem with what delivered it simply wasn’t what I wanted..they sold bananas I actually wanted peaches.

The problem is that the field of ‘Extended Fiction’ which I am primarily interested in is at present almost homeless within academia in general. The NTU course is not the only one focusing on the principles of traditional fiction writing, screen-writing and poetry in categories that have been fixed since the notion of Creative Writing was accepted into the academy. Indeed one could even go back further to the battles to get English Literature accepted into the academy.

This constant seeking for ‘validation’ alongside the sciences means that, like fine art, a lot of conservatism has crept in alongside the wish to be taken seriously. This conservatism is especially prevalent now with REF status measurement . Creative courses move towards ‘acceptability’ through research worthiness but in my opinion it is stifling creative content and not just in writing.

The area of apps and fiction (see above) which mixing illustration and stories, online and offline graphic novels, voice-only novels ( a recent development..basically a recording of writer reading but no text sold) photo-embedded literature, visual-poetry, comics etc etc has hardly rippled the surface of ‘creative writing’ that country-wide has been modeled on a Stateside Iowa Workshop model first introduced in the 1960’s. A model that now 50 years old. We wouldn’t drive a car built in 1960 now so why drive a model of education that similarly dated?

There are various reasons for this. A lot of the embedded wisdom in that model is very good. Good writing is good writing and basic principles have not changed. What has changed is everything around that model. The stand-alone paper novel may not be as Will Self so clearly put it ‘as dead as the Dodo’ but it is it certainly one platform amongst many now. Self is one author trying to breathe life into its  form in an arena where what we call literature or ‘the book’ may be fragmenting into a variety of platforms. The internet has changed the delivery, consumption and influence of the literature we read as comprehensively as the first paperbacks sold at W.H.Smiths (which trains then distributed around the country like a steel internet) changed our notions of literacy, communication and most importantly fueled universal suffrage and democracy.

To paraphrase Yeats

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold……

But the centre here is the reader. The reader is now the centre of endless opportunities be it social media, hypertext, embedded photos. Everything has become an endless ‘narrative’ which we making from our own lives via social media. To disrupt this ‘FLOW’ of trans-mediale imagery and text we have to purposefully disengage via Kindle or paper (the original kindle is a electronic metaphor for paper anyway) and place ourselves outside the ‘FLOW’.

If one turns one’s attention away from standard literature field to what I tentatively calling ‘Extended Fictions’ a whole new landscape emerges. This is a landscape that the millennial born digital natives are swimming in effortlessly. It is both image and text like graphic novels but maybe even more fluid and permeable once online. The graphic novel has its ‘paper’ retro adherents who regard online as a threat to its unique paper object-ness.  They see its object-hood as the defining characteristic of  paper-bound writing and in many ways this ‘thing-ness’ corresponds with contemporary crisis in the fine arts over authenticity and object value.

I spent much of last year investigating Charles Dickens and his illustrators as a key moment in the development of the ‘serialised’ novel. Indeed one could say he invented the modern magazine serialisation and therefore modern cinema and TV.
It is no coincidence that the first efforts to create working free-flowing multi-directional Apps from literature have used him as a model. The image above is a illustrated short story by Dickens from Microsoft. The image below is from the ‘Dark London’ app developed by the Museum of London and again drawing on both location tracking and multiple entry points to the narrative..all is FLOW..not uni-directional narration.

Unless modern creative-writing courses take on board THE FLOW we will have a version of writing presented as all writing just as a version of fine art currently dominates fine art. This is my opinion. It is not an opinion many in my institution would agree with that is for sure.

For me to not go with THE FLOW is to cease to go forward it as simple as that.

The future is here now and it looks very much like the past to me …we do not want to miss the train do we? Would Dickens be working on paper or the web?


Dickens Dark London App

Illustration and Narrative Construction Conference: Paris 2014



Illustration and Narrative Construction
Illustration by James Abbott Pasquier for the September 1872 issue of Thomas Hardy’s A Pair of Blue Eyes in Tinsley’s Magazine.
(Image scanned by Philip V. Allingham)


International conference
Université Paris-Diderot, 28 et 29 March 2014
Call for Papers
            At a time of growing academic interest for the adaptation of fictional narratives across a range of different contemporary media (film, TV series, comic books, graphic novels), we would like to engage with illustration as the earliest form of visual adaptation of novelistic works.
            The general aim of this conference is to explore illustration in its specifically narrative dimension. The notion of narrative construction provides an interesting paradigm to analyse the relationship between text and image within illustrated works of fiction. Though each illustration may be said to have a narrative potential of its own which is revealed by the eye perusing it, it is the sequential dimension of narrative which will be our particular focus here.
The object of the conference is to examine how a series of images accompanying a narrative does not simply illustrate separate moments singled out from the text but forms a visual narrative through its dynamic relationship with the text. We shall thus study the different processes at stake and the ways in which images, in their three-fold articulation to the work as a whole—namely to the passage which they illustrate, to what precedes and follows in the narrative, and to the sequence of interlinked images—suggest a reading of a text and open up one of its narrative possibilities.
            The conference will focus on European novels from the early modern period to the present.
            Possible topics include:
-        The different illustrated editions of a text, targeting various readerships (bibliophiles, young people, etc.) and the type of visual narrative constructed to address each reading public
-        Diachronic analyses of the illustrated versions of a single text and of the transformations of narrative over time
-        Illustration as counterpoint to the text, constructing a parallel narrative, sometimes even contradicting the text
-        Serialized novels and the specific narrative dynamic put into play by serialization
-     The special cases of graphic novels and comic books adapted from works of fiction and the redefinition of the narrative dynamic brought about by these media

Alexander Mann’s Gnats – Proposal

All my abstracts and papers in the ART RESEARCH: Film, look illustration and transmedia category can be found here on ScribD.



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Back to the future? Film Research paper accepted Amsterdam!


I sent a submission to a Film Philosophy conference in Amsterdam and have been accepted so have three months to write paper detailed below. This will pull together all the research done as first year of M.A. which was put on hold whilst rejigged M.A. to be fine art and cartoon based (this blog). The previous research is specifically archived here https://shaunbelcher.com/rpt and merges into ongoing fine art’Projects’ here https://shaunbelcher.com/fineart/

The proposal which has been accepted is as follows:

mann1 mann2

Alexander Mann’s ‘Gnats’: Early film and photography in rural England as traced through an artist’s sequential narrative and sketchbooks.
Alexander Mann (1853-1908) landscape and genre painter was an early adopter, seek post impressionism, viagra of photography and his sequential narrative in etchings ‘Gnats and other hindrances to the landscape artist’ of 1884 reveals not only an awareness of photography but hints at a wider filmic narrative.
It is the purpose of this paper to explore this folio work of Alexander Mann alongside his sketchbooks and relate this to the wider discourse around early cinematic and photographic technology, troche artistic modernism, artistic communities and the railway. This will draw on Benjamin, Kirby, Solnit and Schivelbusch in attempting to uncover information from a neglected area of art history i.e. Artistic Modernism in the Thames Valley (England) and the spread of ‘new’ imaging technology from 1850-1914 through artists to the local community.
The paper will attempt to reveal a correlation between ‘experimentation’ with ‘new’ technology in post-impressionism in the English provinces with present day advances in pervasive mobile and digital imaging and its equivalent widening of participation in the processes of image creation.

Keywords: Early photography and cinema, sequential narrative, mobile technology, imaging, landscape and genre painting, etching, provincial modernism.



Vintage Camera footage shot in London – Joseph Ernst


This antique camera, used to make short film Londoners, was found in a British warehouse.
Photos courtesy Joseph Ernst


In his quirky new short Londoners, director Joseph Ernst uses a hand-cranked camera from the 1920s to film contemporary city dwellers as they might have been portrayed during The Artist‘s glory days.

The British filmmaker got inspired after discovering vintage documentaries by Mitchell and Kenyon, who chronicled everyday life in Edwardian England during the early 1900s.

“When you look at the old Mitchell and Kenyon films, there is a kind of innocence, a charm and allure of a time past,” Ernst told Wired.com in an e-mail interview. “I knew that this side of life still existed in London. The challenge was, would it be possible to produce such a document of this day and age?”

As seen in the exclusive silent premiere of Londoners above, the answer is a black-and-white “yes.” Soccer fans, cafe loungers, subway crowds and parade-goers peer into the camera as though from an earlier century, lending the group portraits an eerily timeless quality.


TECH SPECS Camera: The Ertel Filmette was manufactured in Germany between 1910 and 1920. “We needed a camera manufactured after 1909, which is when they standardized film gauges,” said Joseph Ernst. Before 1909, cameras used film sizes that do not exist today.
Lens: The camera’s original 50mm lens was used for the entire Londoners shoot.
Tripod: Vintage tripods proved too fragile, so Ernst used a heavy Ronford that had to moved with a trolley.
Film stock: 35mm Kodak 5222.
Film cartridges: Ernst chopped up a now-standard 400-foot reel of film stock into three 130-foot sections to accommodate the camera’s relatively tiny magazine.

Londoners isn’t Ernst’s first experiment in offbeat cinema: For his previous short film, Feeder, he poked a camera down the esophagus of a willing subject to record exactly what happens when humans swallow food.

His less-invasive follow-up became an interesting essay on today’s world, as Ernst trundled a bulky antique camera onto city sidewalks crawling with wannabe smartphone documentarians.

“Modern society finds no comfort in the digital camera,” Ernst said. “We shy away from them. We complain if someone points it in our direction. But if you bring out some spectacular relic from the past, people forget all that. They’re surprised that such a thing still exists and that it actually still works.”

Londoners owes much of its flickering charisma to a wooden, 18-frames-per-second camera — circa 1915 — that Ernst discovered in a warehouse full of antique filmmaking gear managed by David French.

“I would never have got this kind of footage with a digital camera,” said Ernst.

Director of photography Oliver Schofield cleaned up the antique camera and “nursed it back to life,” Ernst said. “After a couple of botched test shoots, we had her working.”

Propped on an enormous tripod next to a “changing tent,” the bulky contraption made a sidewalk spectacle of itself — which is precisely what Ernst was aiming for.

“Our intention was to capture people reacting, happily or not, directly into the lens,” he said. “We never knew what we were going to get and we only really had one take per setup. We roughly aimed the camera in the right direction and trust our light-meter reading, which is an alien concept in the digital era.”

Patrick Keiller at Tate

Tate Britain commissions Patrick Keiller artwork

Still taken from Keiller's 2010 film Robinson in Ruins
2010’s Robinson in Ruins is Keiller’s third film to feature the eccentric Robinson

Artist and film-maker Patrick Keiller, will create a new installation for the Tate Britain Commission next year, it has been announced.

Keiller, who has not revealed exactly what the artwork will be, will develop the piece for the neoclassical Duveen galleries.

He said he was “delighted” to be asked. His work will be unveiled on 27 March.

Every year Tate Britain commissions an artist to “develop a new work in response to the Tate Collection”.

Artists who have previously taken on the Duveens Commission include Eva Rothschild, who filled the galleries with a huge black sculpture.

Over the past 30 years Keiller has made several documentary films, including The Dilapidated Dwelling and Robinson In Space.

“As someone most usually involved with images and the linearity of narrative, I’m delighted by the invitation to devise an exhibit for a sculpture gallery,” he said.

Tate Britain director Penelope Curtis said: “Patrick Keiller’s sustained interest in understanding the British landscape, and how it is represented, strikes a perfect chord with the Tate Collection.

“We are delighted that he has accepted our invitation to work with us in compiling a new installation which brings the old and the new together, and shows how similar concerns run through time.”

Darren Almond and Trains in Cinema

Trains in Cinema : http://theartofmemory.blogspot.com/2007/03/trains-in-cinema-part-1.html






Journey Time

by Darren Almond

Steidl & Partners

One of the most significant British artists of the past decade, Darren Almond has established a richly complex,  emotive, and flexible practice which centers on time and history, often focusing on the dark traces of industrialization from the last century but firmly rooted in present-day concerns. Raised in the coal-mining heartland and transport hub of northwest England, Almond became a keen train-spotter as a youth and has since made numerous works involving railways, from station-style clocks enlarged into kinetic sculptures to a profusion of text works that take as their format the embossed metal signs affixed to rolling stock.The focus of Journey Time is one of his most ambitious projects in this field and one of the milestones of his career so far: a trilogy of films devoted to remarkable trains. Schwebebahn (1995) was shot in Germany, upside-down on the first monorail. Running in slow-motion, disorienting and defamiliarising, it conveys a sense of modernity’s aspirations being inverted in an era where much twentieth-century idealism now seems bankrupt. Geisterbahn (1997) was filmed in Vienna on an old-fashioned ghost train. Shot in an expressionistic, shadowy style and punctuated by skulls, the journey becomes a gothic metaphor for mortal life. The third and final part of the trilogy was shot in 2006 on a hugely ambitious railway line built by the Chinese government, leaving from Beijing and stretching 1,200km into Lhasa, striking deep into Tibet. At certain points this will be the highest railway in the world, necessitating oxygen masks for the passengers. Currently it is oxygenated by publicity, having attracted a storm of protests from Tibetans who fear it is intended to bring in large numbers of Chinese migrants to colonise the country. As such, this work extends Almond’s exploration of how transport’s symbolic function as a flashpoint for human struggle. Published to accompany Darren Almond’s exhibition of all three films in Essen, Germany, this handsome catalogue features a substantial selection of images from all three productions.

Patrick Keiller Bibliography


Patrick Keiller bibliography

Keiller, Patrick:”Imaging” in Matthew Beaumont and Gregory Dart (eds): Restless Cities (London: Verso, 2010), pp.139-154.

Keiller, Patrick: “Landscape and Cinematography”, Cultural Geographies, Vol. 16, No. 3, 2009, pp.409-414; http://cgj.sagepub.com/cgi/pdf_extract/16/3/409

Keiller, Patrick: “Popular Science” in Anthony Kiendl (ed.): Informal Architectures: Space and Contemporary Culture (London: Black Dog, 2008), pp. 32-37.

Keiller, Patrick: “Urban Space and Early Film” in Andrew Webber and Emma Wilson (eds): Cities in Transition: The Moving Image and the Modern Metropolis (London, New York: Wallflower, 2008), pp. 29-39.

Unwin, Richard: review of The City of the Future, BFI Southbank Gallery, in Frieze 114, April 2008; http://www.frieze.com/issue/review/patrick_keiller

Dillon, Brian: review of The City of the Future, BFI Southbank Gallery, London in Modern Painters, March 2008, pp.84-85.

Keiller, Patrick: “Phantom Rides: The Railway and Early Film” in Matthew Beaumont, Michael Freeman (eds): The Railway and Modernity: Time, Space, and the Machine Ensemble (Oxford etc: Peter Lang, 2008), pp.69-84.

Hanks, Robert: review of The City of the Future in The Independent Extra, 22 November 2007, pp.14-15; http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/reviews/a-cinematic-show-puts-a-new-twist-on-historical-perception-765004.html

Keiller, Patrick: feature article in Time Out, 21 November 2007, p.67; http://www.timeout.com/film/features/show-feature/3841/patrick-keiller-interview.html

Keiller, Patrick:”Phantom Rides”, The Guardian Review, 10 November 2007, p.14; http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2007/nov/10/2

Hardingham, Samantha and Rattenbury, Kester: Supercrit #1: Cedric Price Potteries Thinkbelt (Abingdon: Routledge 2007), pp.110-111.

Walker, Ian: So Exotic, So Homemade: Surrealism, Englishness and Documentary Photography (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007), pp.160-186.

Keiller, Patrick: “Londres, Bombay” in Vertigo Vol. 3 No. 6 Summer 2007, pp. 38-39, 42-23.

Keiller, Patrick: “Film as Spatial Critique” in Mark Dorrian, Murray Fraser, Jonathan Hill, Jane Rendell (eds): Critical Architecture (London, New York: Routledge, 2007), pp.115-123.

Keiller, Patrick: ‘The City of the Future’ in Alan Burton, Laraine Porter (eds): Picture Perfect: Landscape, Place and Travel in British Cinema before 1930 (Exeter: Exeter University Press, 2007), pp.104-112, abridged at http://www.bftv.ac.uk/newslet/0304p3.htm

Anderson, Jason: “London Mapping: Patrick Keiller’s Peripatetic Hybrids”, interview with Patrick Keiller, Cinema Scope 26, 2006.

Keiller, Patrick:”Coal Hopper, Nine Elms Lane, ” in Iain Sinclair (ed): London: City of Disappearances (London: Hamish Hamilton, 2006), pp.292-295.

Burke, Andrew: “Nation, Landscape and Nostalgia in Patrick Keiller’s Robinson in Space”, Historical Materialism 14:1, 2006, pp.3-29; http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/brill/hm/2006/00000014/00000001

Connarty, Jane; Lanyon, Josephine and others: Ghosting: The Role of the Archive within Contemporary Artists’ Film and Video (Bristol: Picture This, 2006), pp.106-109.

Mazierska, Ewa & Rascaroli, Laura: Crossing New Europe: Postmodern Travel and the European Road Movie (London: Wallflower, 2006), pp.57-78.

Dave, Paul: Visions of England: Class and Culture in Contemporary Cinema (Oxford, New York: Berg, 2006), pp.119-140.

Making History: Art and Documentary in Britain from 1929 to Now (Liverpool: Tate Liverpool, 2006), pp.38, 46-47.

Pile, Steve: Real Cities: Modernity, Space and the Phantasmagorias of City Life (London: Sage, 2005), pp.4-12.

Keiller, Patrick: “Motion Pictures”, The Guardian Review, 21 May 2005, pp.18-19; http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2005/may/21/2

House, John & Keiller, Patrick: “River of Dreams”, Tate Etc. 3 (Spring 2005), pp.100-107; http://www.tate.org.uk/tateetc/issue3/riverofdreams.htm

Demorgon, Laurence: “Robinson, pélerin du monde global”, “Architecture d’aujourdhui“350, January-February 2005, pp.24-25.

Keiller, Patrick: “Tram Rides and Other Virtual Landscapes” in Simon Popple, Patrick Russell, Vanessa Toulmin (eds): The Lost World of Mitchell & Kenyon: Edwardian Britain on Film, (London: BFI, 2004), pp.191-200.

Mayer, Robert: “Not Adaptation but Drifting : Patrick Keiller, Daniel Defoe, and the Relationship between Film and Literature”, Eighteenth-Century Fiction 16:4, July 2004, pp.803-827; http://digitalcommons.mcmaster.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1721&context=ecf

Misselwitz, Philipp: “Reichtmer im Zerfall”, interview with Patrick Keiller in Philipp Oswalt (ed): Schrumpfende Städte, (Berlin: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2004), pp.554-559; English edition 2006, pp.554-559.

Keiller, Patrick: ‘The City of the Future’ in City 7:3, November 2003, pp.376-386.

Dillon, Brian: ‘London Calling’, interview with Patrick Keiller in Frieze 78, October 2003, pp.78-81 http://www.frieze.com/issue/article/london_calling/

O’Pray, Michael: Avant-Garde Film: Forms, Themes and Passions (London, New York: Wallflower, 2003), pp.107-118.

Keiller, Patrick: ‘London in the Early 1990s’ in Andrew Gibson and Joe Kerr (eds): London from Punk to Blair (London: Reaktion, 2003), pp.353-361 and AA Files 49: London: Postcolonial City (London: Architectural Association, 2003), pp.20-24.

Keiller, Patrick: ‘London-Rochester-London’ in Cedric Price and others: Re:CP (Basel, Boston, Berlin: Birkhäuser, 2003), pp.168-185.

O’Neill, Eithne: London and Robinson in Space review in Positif 509/510 (July/August 2003), p.138.

Keiller, Patrick: ‘The Poetic Experience of Townscape and Landscape’ and ‘Atmosphere, Palimpsest and Other Interpretations of Landscape’ reprinted in Nina Danino & Michael Mazière (eds): The Undercut Reader (London, New York: Wallflower, 2003), pp.75-83, 204-208.

Keiller, Patrick: ‘Sexual Ambiguity and Automotive Engineering’ in Peter Wollen and Joe Kerr (eds): Autopia (London: Reaktion, 2002), pp.342-353.

Evans, Gareth: The Dilapidated Dwelling review in Time Out (8-15 May 2002); http://www.timeout.com/film/reviews/65464/the-dilapidated-dwelling.html

Keiller, Patrick: ‘Architectural Cinematography’ in Kester Rattenbury (ed): This Is Not Architecture (London, New York: Routledge, 2002), pp.37-44.

Martin-Jones, David: interview with Patrick Keiller, Journal of Popular British Cinema, 5-2002, pp.123-132.

Keiller, Patrick: The Robinson Institute, eBook in series Species of Spaces for diffusion.org.uk, 2002; http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=62

Keiller, Patrick: ‘Port Statistics’ in Iain Borden, Joe Kerr, Jane Rendell, Alicia Pivaro (eds): The Unknown City (Cambridge MA, London: MIT, 2001), pp.442-458.

Eisner, Ken: The Dilapidated Dwelling review in Variety, December 18-31, 2000; http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117796949.html?categoryid=31&cs=1

Bruzzi, Stella: New Documentary: a critical introduction (London: Routledge, 2000), pp.99-123.

Dave, Paul: ‘Representations of Capitalism, History and Nation in the Work of Patrick Keiller’, in Justine Ashby and Andrew Higson (eds): British Cinema, Past and Present (London: Routledge, 2000), pp.339-351.

Smith, Claire: ‘New Art Cinema in the 90s’, in Robert Murphy (ed): British Cinema in the ’90s (London: BFI, 2000), pp.145-155.

Keiller, Patrick: ‘Popular Science’, in Landscape (London: British Council, 2000), pp.60-67.

Kerr, Joe: interview with Patrick Keiller in Bob Fear (ed): Architecture + Film II, Architectural Design, 70:1, January 2000, pp.82-85.

Keiller, Patrick: Robinson in Space and a Conversation with Patrick Wright (London: Reaktion Books, 1999).

Richard Wentworth’s Thinking Aloud (London: National Touring Exhibitions, 1998), p.33.

Keiller, Patrick: ‘The Dilapidated Dwelling’ in Sarah Wigglesworth and Jeremy Till (eds): The Everyday and Architecture, Architectural Design 68:7-8, 1998, pp.22-27.

Dave, Paul: ‘The Bourgeois Paradigm and Heritage Cinema’, New Left Review 224, July-August 1997, pp.111-126; http://www.newleftreview.org/?view=1914

Barwell, Claire: interview with Patrick Keiller, Pix 2, 1997, pp.158-165.

Sinclair, Iain: Lights Out For the Territory (London: Granta, 1997), pp.306-317.

Sorensen, Colin: interview with Patrick Keiller, London on Film (London: Museum of London, 1996), pp.160-161.

Daniels, Stephen: “Paris Envy: Patrick Keiller’s London“, History Workshop Journal, 40:1, 1995, pp.220-222; http://hwj.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/pdf_extract/40/1/220

Keiller, Patrick: ‘The Tourist Poem’, Umeni XLIII:1-2, UDU AVCR, Prague, 1995, pp.45-47.

Price, Anna: interview with Patrick Keiller, Artifice 1, 1994, pp.26-37.

Keiller, Patrick: ‘The Visible Surface’, Sight and Sound, November 1994, p.35.

Keiller, Patrick: 1994 Berlin Film Festival programme text for London, reprinted as ‘Filming London Obliquely’, Regenerating Cities 7, 1994, pp.54-55.

Sinclair, Iain: ‘Necropolis of Fretful Ghosts’, Sight and Sound, June 1994, pp.12-15.

The British Art Show 1990 (London: South Bank Centre, 1990), pp.76-77, 134.

Keiller, Patrick: ‘Modern Architecture in Czechoslovakia 1919-1939’, published as ‘Czech Perspective’, Building Design, 13 March 1987, pp.22-25.

O’Pray, Michael: review of Norwood, Monthly Film Bulletin, October 1984, pp.322-323.

Keiller, Patrick: ‘Atmosphere, Palimpsest and Other Interpretations of Landscape’, in Undercut 7-8, 1983, pp.125-129.

Keiller, Patrick: ‘The Poetic Experience of Townscape and Landscape’, in Undercut 3-4, 1982, pp.42-48.

see also:




Hockney and Film

David Hockney moves into film with Royal Academy exhibition

Hockney’s multi-camera films of the east Yorkshire countryside ‘could save cinema’, according to the artist

Mark Brown
guardian.co.uk Wednesday 7 September 2011 18.35 BST
Article history

David Hockney in 2009 at his exhibition at Tate Britain, with his painting Bigger Trees Near Warter. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

Seven years’ worth of David Hockney’s work are to be exhibited in a major show at the Royal Academy next year, including, for the first time, film.

The artist has some valuable pointers for television and Hollywood. “It has occurred to me that it could save cinema,” Hockney said, outlining plans to exhibit his landscape films, in which he used nine cameras to create large moving images across multiple screens.

“I’m going to show these to friends in Hollywood in a few weeks..”

The films show the same landscape in each of the four seasons and were taken when he lived in Bridlington, capturing the changing beauty of the east Yorkshire countryside.

They will be among 150 works in Hockney’s show, which will include paintings, drawings, sketchbooks and drawings made on his cherished iPad.

The show stems from an approach the RA made to Hockney in 2004, putting much of its grand gallery space at the artist’s disposal.

“It did give me a terrific boost,” he said. “I thought, they’re giving me wonderful great big walls that were made for big paintings right in the middle of London. I think we’ve risen to it.”

Hockney has managed to make east Yorkshire his landscape, much as Constable did with Suffolk.

“Nobody directed what David was going to do for this exhibition,” said co-curator Marco Livingstone. “He had the galleries at his disposal and he made the work that he wanted to make.”

Livingstone said the technical skill, the brushwork and the confidence in the works were all of the highest order. “I think the paintings he has made since 2005 are the most impressive body of work he’s made in his life.”

Did Hockney agree? “Any artist will tell you that the work he did yesterday was the best,” he said.

Hockney, a regular Guardian letter writer as well as reader, used the launch to get a few longstanding gripes off his chest. It’s not two thousand and twelve, for example, it’s twenty twelve. He also held forth on smoking, of course. He has cigarette packet warning signs all over his house saying “death awaits you even if you do not smoke”. And while he was there, he bemoaned the wrongheadedness of Hollywood in thinking 3D was the way forward: “A big error, a mistake,” that is only good for pornography, he said.

Filming in east Yorkshire was straightforward because nobody interfered or interrupted, he said. “In LA it would have been permits, all kinds of things.”

Using so many cameras exposed the comparative limitations of TV, he said. “You notice how pokey the television picture is, actually. It’s always edges, edges. We’re moving the edges now. You move the edge by putting a great deal more in the middle of the picture.”

After devoting so long to landscapes, the 74-year-old Hockney thinks he will now return to portraits. “That’s normally what happens,” he said.

The show is not a retrospective, but will include works from the 1950s to the 1990s, to allow his new work to be seen in context.

The stars of the show may well be multi-canvassed depictions of east Yorkshire, which Hockney painted after driving around the countryside with a chair in the boot of his car, then sitting and smoking and looking.

“Most people glance or scan but don’t look,” he said. “I love looking, I get intense pleasure from my eyes. There’s a lot of blindness. I’m not sure television has made people look very hard. I always thought television couldn’t show you the beauty of the landscape because it can’t show you space that well. The enjoyment of landscape is a spatial thrill.”

The show will be part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad programme. Ruth Mackenzie, the programme’s director, said one of her first acts after being appointed had been to approach the RA and beg them to allow the Hockney show to be part of it.

As the Hockney show was scheduled for January to April and the London 2012 Festival is in June, Mackenzie had to think creatively. “We decided to invent a category of ‘countdown’ events and countdown events are in honour, really, of David Hockney.”

David Hockney: A Bigger Picture will be at the Royal Academy between 21 January and 9 April.

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