Thursday, 24 September 2009

Jamie's Video Nasties / Video Club # 1 at [space]

In the first of a two-part Video Club project at [space], artist Jamie Shovlin, explored the particularities of British ‘video nasty’ culture via two screenings...

Don’t Go In The House (1980).
Dir. Joseph Ellison, 82 Mins.

Fight For Your Life (1977).
Dir. Robert A. Endelson, 82 Mins.

... and a lecture, during which Shovlin delineated the particularly British phenomenon of the video nasty and its relation to the Video Club's stated remit.

Part two of Jamie’s Video Nasties will take place on Wednesday 18th November 2009.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Video Club

Video Club is a new platform I'm developing in order to explore the recent cultural history of VHS.

Focusing on the VHS to Digital shift (DVD, Blu-ray, flash stream, You tube, avi, torrent, etc.), a broad range of individuals will be invited to select, present and screen a VHS (or a number of tapes) of their choice on . The only criteria is that the selected videos are on the VHS format and that they are not widely available on digital formats

VHS has a half life of 12.5 years. Fairly soon a huge swathe of titles – those deemed unsuitable for digital upgrade - will simply erase themselves from our cultural imagination. Video Club events will remind people of this fact , as well as establishing a more general platform (potentially for talks and non-film based events) for the consideration of how culture, in general, renews itself via certain dialectical predicates...

Now this all sounds very serious. The reality is that the sort of content auto-generated by this concept will most likely be anything but serious. As an example, I myself hope to mount a screening of my collection of early 90s tennis videos: in particular my hackneyed copy of “Becker and Graf: The Rise of German Tennis” (a video, it seems, destined never to be restituted from its native VHS).

In essence the content rules for the platform should unearth some interestingly 'unimportant' material. The mass of productivity on VHS that simply does not appeal to anyone and has no gate keepers.

(That said, the first two events by Jamie Shovlin sort of contradict these rules (which are in fact, less like rules, more like guidelines) - see here).

Thursday, 10 September 2009

David Markey: WE GOT POWER

I have recently curated a micro-retrospect of brilliant Southern Californian independent filmmaker, David Markey. The programme ran like this (over September at SEVENTEEN):

9th - 12th Citizen Tania (with Raymond Pettibon) (1989) + short films & music videos

16th - 19th 1991: The Year That Punk Broke (1992) + short films & music videos

23rd - 26th Desperate Teenage Lovedolls (1984) + short films & music videos

30th - 3rd The Slog Movie (1982) + short films & music videos

Full press release below + a clip from Citizen Tania.

The work of independent filmmaker David Markey (b. 1963) is defined by an indefatigable DIY attitude. Self taught, he produced his first film in 1974 with his fathers hand-wound 8mm Brownie camera (a horror film titled The Devil's Exorcist). In 1980 he discovered the burgeoning Southern Californian punk scene via bands such as Black Flag, Redd Kross and X. The formation of his own band (Sin 34) followed in 1981, alongside the launch of his own We Got Power fanzine and, crucially, the production of his first Super-8 film documents.

These films were distributed underground and critically well received, putting Markey on the Cinematic Punk map as one of its key visual diarists before he was of legal age. Accordingly his films feature an impressive roll call of cast members and collaborators; including Sonic Youth, Black Flag, Spike Jonze and Raymond Pettibon, amongst many others. Markey continues to be a resilient and resourceful filmmaker who has sustained a truly independent career in the shadow of Hollywood and against the backdrop of corporate America for over two and a half decades.

WE GOT POWER focuses on Markey's output between 1974 and the present day and includes Super-8 shorts, music videos, feature films and documentaries.

Central to the exhibition will be a selection of short films and music videos. These will accompany a weekly rotation of feature length works beginning with Citizen Tania, a parody of the kidnap and subsequent indoctrination of newspaper heiress Patti Hearst by the urban guerrilla group The Symbionese Liberation Army (made in collaboration with Raymond Pettibon in 1989).

Following this, key feature length documents such as 1991: The Year That Punk Broke (1992), Desperate Teenage Love Dolls (1984) and The Slog Movie (1982) will be shown in weekly succession. Further works, including later films by Markey and a number of other collaborative efforts will be screened in a series of events to be announced.

Connected with the exhibition, on Friday the 25th of September Hype Williams will perform in the gallery basement from 7pm onwards.

More about the work of David Markey can be found here: