We Make Stuff: Film & Social Context
Seeking to shine a light on contemporary questions of how film and creative practice can be used to understand connections between time and place, the inaugural We Make Stuff event took place on Monday 27th March 2017, and sought to explore the relationship between our past and our everyday understanding of place - and in turn between those understandings and the art of filmmaking or creative practice.
Grappling with this question, filmmakers, artists and researchers came together to showcase a range of short films, exhibitions and art installations. Speakers included:
Dr Patrick Turner (chair) Patrick's field of interest lies in urban expressive multi-cultures, their cultural politics and globality. At once rooted and ‘mundanely’ cosmopolitan, how do they traverse, mediate, reproduce and subvert contexts of social turbulence, privilege, stasis, regulation and transgression? Patrick’s forthcoming book is based on his research on UK post hip hop culture: Hip Hop Versus Rap: The Politics of Droppin’ Knowledge, published by Routledge. He is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Bath Spa University.
Claire Levy introduced her latest documentary as producer. Some Will Forget (2016) reflects on the lives of a family living in a small mining village in South Yorkshire, as the mine is finally closed, 30 years after the end of the miners’ strike. The past and the future are located through the miner Les Moore and his son, exploring their relationship with the village and the mine - both of which, through a tragic event, have become dislocated.
Richard White previewed media work from his exhibition, Forced Walks: Honouring Esther, re-working archive, documentation and social media to produce gallery film and soundscape. In collaboration with installation artist Lorna Brunstein, the exhibition presents new work from Richard’s series of participatory performative walks-in-witness, following a Nazi Death March transposed to Somerset and returned to Germany.
Charlie Tweed presented his experimental film Grain (2013), which materialises as a machinic poem to the Isle of Grain in Kent. The film outlines a proposal for the island’s future focusing in on its non-human population and exposing its history as a ‘non-place’ used to provide resources and support economies of supply. It explores recent proposals to remove the human population along with 350,000 rare birds to make way for a new airport. The film was developed from a performance at Whitechapel Gallery in 2012.
Sam Wilkins also presented a series of new digital collages exploring our relationship with the painted landscape as projected and disturbed idyll. Utilising digital visual effects and compositing techniques to combine contemporary elements into existing British landscape paintings, the collages explore the dissonance of the post-pastoral and our complex and continued relationship with the idealised pastoral landscape.
The work showcased during the event emerged from the Media Convergence Research’s Film & Social Context research cluster. The cluster aims to uncover and to critically interrogate a range of social, environmental and political issues and debates that permeate across our everyday social and natural world. As well as seeking to unearth the sorts of representations, ideologies and perspectives that go beyond the reach of the mass media, researchers in this cluster are also interested in the relationships between such representations and the art of filmmaking, translating social content via the lens of drama, documentary, environmental film and other forms of independent media practice.