This is Now: Film and Video After Punk is a major project curated by William Fowler (Curator of Artists’ Moving Image, BFI National Archive) that looks at artists’ film and video from the post-punk era (1978–85).
The program will be NOT ANYMORE introduced by Will Fowler DUE TO THE STRIKES IN UK.
Here an extensive and interesting interview with Will Fowler by the film programmer and writer Pamela Cohn:
The early 1980s saw an explosion in alternative and independent moving image production. Clubbers, art students, new romantics and members of the post-punk scene used cheap domestic technologies to subvert the mainstream media and to find new modes of expression. Independent VHS tapes were released, stridently bypassing censorship, and Super 8 film was embraced as a cheap yet lyrical new medium. The DIY approach of punk was powerfully reborn.
Artists defied conventional ideas about how film should be made and who should make them. Female, gay and black filmmakers pushed forward; squatting flats, clubbing and developing new styles and techniques together. Derek Jarman collaborators, John Maybury and Cerith Wyn Evans experimented with Super 8, casting friends Leigh Bowery and Siouxsie Sioux in fragmented, dreamlike scenarios. Isaac Julien and Grayson Perry explored the politics of cultural and personal representation, and major pop video director Sophie Muller (Beyoncé, Rihanna, The Strokes) printed and layered images on 16mm.
This is Now celebrates the diversity of independent moving image production from the UK in the 1980s, a unique moment when cheap new technologies enabled new voices to be heard. A new aesthetic developed that would shape the look of film, television, fashion and music for many years to come. The BFI National Archive has restored twenty Super 8 and 16mm films from this period and the majority of titles are presented for the first time in over three decades. Developed over several years, these programmes revisit a key period in the cultural life of the UK and reflect on the currency that this work has with internet video and artist filmmaking today.
EYE screens two of the seven compilations of the total programme.
The compilation Just Images: The moral, political and symbolic integrity of the image itself is explored, attacked and undermined in these very richly textured films. John Maybury casts friends Siouxsie Sioux and David Holah in one of the singularly most stunning and ambitious Super 8 works of the era: Court of Miracles. Young filmmakers bring on the post-modern age.
Court of Miracles (John Maybury, GB, 1982. 40’)
Glory Boys (Vanda Carter, GB, 1983, 4’)
Territories (Isaac Julien, GB, 1984, 25’)
Psychic TV: Unclean (Cerith Wyn Evans & John Maybury, GB, 1984, 9’)
The compilation Video Killed the Radio Star: Early independent video releases were the revolutionary, DIY antidote to a TV system only just gearing up to a fourth channel. They bypassed censorship and gave a platform to the marginalised and unsanctioned. This eclectic selection includes a very rare John Smith title and punchy, stuttering Scratch Video works by The Duvet Brothers, Kim Flitcroft & Sandra Goldbacher, Gorilla Tapes and George Barber.
Echo and the Bunnymen: Shine So Hard (John Smith, GB, 1981, 32’)
Campagne Tapes The Miners ‘: The Lie Machine (GB, 1984, 15’)
The Greatest Hits van Scratch Video deel 2 (GB, 1984, 25’)