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CANWEYE { } [2016]

Single channel film, 30 min 45 sec, 16mm transferred to digital, colour, stereo; single channel film [trailer], 4 min 37 sec, 16mm transferred to digital, colour stereo; fly-posters, acoustic hessian panels, coloured fluorescent light bulbs; and installation construction including sound-proofed booth, projection space with chairs and hessian panels, and Derek Jarman drawing ‘Plague Street’ [1970/71]

CANWEYE { } is a single channel 16mm film and installation, commissioned as part of a solo exhibition at Focal Point Gallery, Southend alongside a fly-poster series TELEPATH and film trailer INCIPIT.

In CANWEYE { }, the image of the film set, between states of construction and deconstruction, becomes the main narrative character. Shot on 16mm on Canvey Island, Essex and in Venice, Italy, the estuary and the lagoon are locations for an ambitious proposal towards a facsimile city, where parallel architectural and geological sites signify another kind of set.

The work stems from earlier research around 'Plague Street' [1971], a drawing by Derek Jarman and possible set design for Ken Russell’s 'The Devils' [1971]. Jarman later captured the film on Super-8 from the screen at the Elgin Cinema, New York. His reconfigured version 'The Devils at the Elgin' [1974], concludes in a “blizzard of ashes”, presenting his set as Jarman originally envisaged. This ghost adaptation becomes an invisible score for CANWEYE { }, that also comprises material orbiting another film, as its own unmade epic.

The film was first shown at Focal Point Gallery inside a three-part structure that recalled a sound recording booth, with glass viewing panel into the space of the projection. Entrance into the gallery was down a corridor that ran along what seemed to resemble the back of a set. Three viewing ‘slits’ were cut into this long wall, that showed a room in what appeared to be the remnants of a recording session: three chairs, musical stands, and acoustic hessian panels lining the walls and on free-standing metal bases; and on the far wall, the projection. The corridor lead into a narrow point, where 'Plague Street' was installed, and to the left, a door that opened into the booth, in which the sound to the film was isolated.

A fly-poster TELEPATH, designed with Fraser Muggeridge, was installed in the foyer cabinets, as well as in and around Southend, on council hoardings, a decommissioned cinema and Blockbuster video store. It was also cut into fragments, enclosing a photographic still print from the film, as part of the exhibition invitation sent by post.

The film trailer, INCIPIT, was installed on a monitor in the foyer and distributed online. It presents three musicians in the process of recording the film score, composed by Leo Chadburn. Here, the constituent parts of the score are compressed to present an altered temporal space. 'Incipit' originates from latin, and means “it begins”. It represents the first few words of a text, or in a musical composition, the initial sequence of notes.

INCIPIT can be viewed here >

A blizzard of ashes, commissioned text by Ellen Greig, can be read here >

Images 1-5, CANWEYE { } film stills; images 6 - 12, installation views, Focal Point Gallery and in Southend, July - October 2016. Commissioned by Focal Point Gallery, funded by Arts Council England, and supported by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and Southend Museums.

 

 
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