Island: Variations
Bloc Projects, Sheffield
5th September 2015

Part 1

Latifah and Himli’s Nomadic Uncle Alnoor Dewshi
 1992 15mins B+W sound
Described by John Akomfrah as an “excellent film on Nomadology and diasporic sublime”, two cousins discuss ideas of culture and history while wandering through London.

Subliminal (Invocation To Sun Ra)
Wayne Burrows / Paul Isherwood 2015 9mins colour sound
Taken from Exotica Suite a series of texts reimagining the British Isles as they might have been if colonised and influenced by Polynesian customs and beliefs in the 1780s.

 Paul Eastwood 
2013 3mins colour sound
Inspired by the novel Hothouse by Brian Aldiss. “Morel a sentient fungus, forms symbiotic relationships with other life forms and enhances their intelligence”. Slag focuses on a singular nomadic man that scurries across a barren landscape, exploring the artefacts, attire and ritual that encompasses his journey.

Pete McPartlan 
2014 4mins colour sound
Nema is one of a series of studies or sketches of changing pattern and noise as motion. The computer animated forms come from swirls of flattened grass found on an area of wasteland. Composed to be loosely isotropic - looking the same in all directions, including time - as if through closed eyes or a microwave telescope.

About 5 Minutes Remaining Yelena Popova
 2014 5mins colour sound
A contemporary fable reflecting on time as a commodity, cognitive labour and productivity under the spell of neo-liberalism.

Part 2

87 pauses while responding to a question about the nature of happiness 
Collective Production
 2010 4mins colour sound
Collective Production was a 2-week residency in March 2010 working with survivors of homelessness, mental health services, and substance misuse. The residency explored modes, methods and histories of non-hierarchical co-production as an experimental functioning alternative to current redundant models of participatory art.

Concrete Heart Land Steven Ball & Rastko Novaković 2015 25mins colour sound

This film exposes the social cleansing of the Heygate Estate in Elephant and Castle, South London. It marks the moment that the estate was finally lost as social housing to make way for an unjust 'regeneration' scheme. Over the course of 2012 and 2013, we filmed panoramic video images of the estate and interiors of some of the Heygate flats, both of which feature in the film. These images are of the estate as it was at its end, blighted by Southwark Council's lack of maintenance and their leasing of it as a film set for 'grimy', 'urban' and 'dystopian' cinematic settings. Assembled from 12 years of archive materials, our film charts the struggles of the local community to keep their homes, stay living in the area, and maintain communal benefits in the face of extreme development pressures. Throughout the film we hear the community engaging in some of the crucial battles with elected officials, planners and barristers, in municipal planning meetings, public enquiries and interviews.

Inserted among these recordings are various sections of a performance we staged in 2012 on the then still-inhabited estate. An assembled group of past and present residents, community activists and critics of the Heygate plans, chant texts composed from phrases used in the Regeneration Masterplan. The performance parodies the technical language of regeneration and the aspirational language of gentrification.

Having evicted the last residents in November 2013, Southwark Council has finally demolished the entire estate and the land is currently a building site for new luxury flats. In April 2015, following a three-year legal battle, the council and developer were ordered to disclose the financial viability assessment for the scheme. This revealed that the developer Lend Lease grossly overestimated the financial risk and underestimated the profitability of the scheme to undermine Southwark Council's statutory 35% quota for affordable housing. The result is that Lend Lease succeeded in drastically reducing the amount of social housing being built.

Pressure to bring forth the wider gentrification of the area continues at the nearby Aylesbury estate. Ignoring the 2001 stock transfer ballot of residents, which returned an overwhelming rejection of proposed estate redevelopment, Southwark Council and Notting Hill Housing Trust are forcing through 'regeneration' without a mandate. This has met with heavy local resistance, including a two-month protest occupation of Aylesbury flats within the aggressively secured and cordoned off 'first development site'. The occupation ended on 2nd April 2015 with hundreds of local residents tearing down sections of the hated purple fence, which had become symbolic of the violence of regeneration. See and for more information.

The remaining residents of the site are currently facing the first wave of compulsory purchase orders (CPO). For a write up of the past proceedings, please visit The CPO public inquiry will resume on 13th October 2015 at 'Arry's Bar - the football supporters' club at Millwall Football Ground.

Chalk Trace Esther Johnson 2013 3mins B+W sound
As a child in the 1950s, Ron Cockroft drew a chalk line from his school in Oldham to his home in Chadderton. Chalk Trace commemorates and reanimates his graffiti journey through a now much-changed network of streets. The film was photographed in the original streets of Oldham as they stand today – over 60 years after Ron’s original graffiti.

Part 3

I Like The Future and the Future Likes Me Tom Crawford 2014 8mins colour sound
I Like The Future and the Future Likes Me collages together footage of musicians and artists improvising or in various states of performance hysteria. Cut alongside documentary video of football hooligans and a National Front figure from the 1970s, the video reflects on a perverse tendency of leftist politics to romanticise past political conflicts whilst appearing unable to imagine an alternative future.

Slag #2 Paul Eastwood
2013 3mins colour sound
The nomadic character continues his explorations in the snow.

K3 (Les Femmes) Frédérique Devaux 2003 5mins colour

The film is dedicated to the Kabili women of North Africa. The artist uses the procedure of superimposing images and sounds to highlight the difficulty the women face in proclaiming their identity. The shots project the activities of Kabili women; usually involving the raising of children, the family, and the household. Erased from the exterior society, their marginalization is depicted through the fading in and out of images and sounds. However, within their spaces, exclusively reserved for them, they remain loyal, they sing, dance, and resist a society that does not take into account their full worth.

Barrabackslarrabang Imogen Stidworthy 2010 9mins colour
Barrabackslarrabang was shot in two Liverpool pubs (The Vines and The Lion Tavern) - locations strongly associated with informal chat and the birth of the railway, respectively - with speakers of a local underground slang, Backslang. The film interweaves tropes of class and race, trade and desire in the hidden backwaters and idealised forms of the voice. One of these is the birth of the railway (with Stephenson's Rocket at Liverpool' s Edge Hill Station) which also arguably launched consumer capitalism, and with it, Standard Pronunciation, which was established to oil the wheels of trade as millions of businessmen travelling around Britain were confronted for the first time with accents they could not understand.

The characters in the film speak different forms of Backslang (Liverpool and Birmingham versions), a subversion of standard English associated primarily with working class culture and also with illegal trade, being designed to protect risky speech from being overheard, particularly from the ears of the law. It grew out of poverty and powerlessness - oiling the wheels of illegal trade - and like all languages, is also a space of social bonding and pride. Speech is sewn with rogue sounds to confuse the ear, and slips easily in everyday banter into a linguistic game of skill and excess. Liverpool Backslang involves replacing the first or all vowels in key words of a phrase with 'ab', 'ag' or 'arrab', while Birmingham Backslang works with variations of 'iligili'.

In Barrabackslarrabang the voice criss-crosses social boundaries to mirror structures and desires in ostensibly opposing spaces of language, legality and culture. It can be seen as a symptom of poor economic and social conditions, but also as a form of resistance, and a possibility for different social paradigms. With Donna Berry, Cliff Higgins, George "Buster" Swaby and Christine Quarless.

 Neil Thomson
2015 5mins colour sound

Inspired by the work of economist and engineer Bill Phillips (1914-1975), this project aims to investigate the validity and accessibility of modern economic theories through the production of a homemade hydromechanical economic computer.

86 responses to a question about the nature of happiness Collective Production #2 
2010 2mins colour sound
The question is answered.