Countercultures, Failure, Madness and Beyond...
St Christopher’s Hall, Trent Road, Sneinton, NG2 4AL

Commissioned by Nottingham Contemporary to coincide with the Francis Upritchard exhibition. Drawing on Upritchard’s sculptural depictions of countercultural figures, the programme took a critical look at late-1960s culture, psychedelia, found footage, re-contextualised objects, and the familiar made strange.

Peter Whitehead Jeanetta Cochrane (1967)

Part 1

Peter Whitehead Jeanetta Cochrane
UK, 1967, 6 minutes, b&w, sound, video (originally 16mm)

The film draws on a variety of sources, including sequences of London shot while Whitehead was at the Slade School of Art, glimpses of the singer and model Nico, and footage of the psychedelic underground nightclub UFO. There is also on-screen text, a voice critiquing it, and music from (a pre-EMI) Pink Floyd, at this point still fronted by Syd Barrett. There is no explicit link to the Cochrane Theatre, though this was used as a venue for the ‘Spontaneous Festival of Underground Films’ in 1966.

Media Archive for Central England Meet the Mayor
UK, 1968, 4 minutes, b&w, sound, video (originally 16mm)

Excerpts for a television programme about the city of Nottingham. The footage cuts between two filmed interviews with historians giving their views on the legend of Robin Hood. One is more sceptical than the other regarding the traditional legend. (No interviewer is heard and the identities of the historians are unknown). Made for Associated television, we are grateful to MACE for providing this footage.

Alex Pearl Protest Film Nottingham
UK, 2006, 1.30 minutes, colour, sound, video

This is the first of a series of films in which a small clockwork protest is made in a variety of locations around the world. It is intended that a kit containing a clockwork protester and placards will be passed from person to person around the globe and that the resulting films will be sent back to Alex for screening. If you would like to make a protest film email Alex and he will send you a kit:

Shezad Dawood New Dream Machine Project
UK, 2011, 15 minutes, colour, sound, HD video

The film centres on a kinetic light sculpture, inspired by Brion Gysin’s 1960s prototype ‘Dream Machine’. Designed to emit light waves inducing states of unconsciousness, the sculpture features in a concert at the Cinématheque de Tanger with the Master Musicians of Jajouka and guitarist Duke Garwood, who pays tribute to cult album ‘Brian Jones Presents the Pan Pipes of Jajouka’ by reprising Jones’ role on stage. This documented re-enactment is edited to the same flicker and audio rate as the rotating sculpture.

Hem Black Screen
UK, 2012, 3 minutes, colour, sound, video

A foray into video by Nottingham-based electronic music producer Kamal Joory (aka Geiom / Hem). In Black Screen the soundtrack triggers certain visual parameters that abstract found footage into mesmerising kaleidoscopic images.

Thomas Draschan To The Happy Few
Germany, 2003, 4 minutes, colour, sound, 16mm

The film is structured around the mystical idea of the mandala, in this case pictures of (fake) suns, galaxies and planets. These images are in sync with an Indian Bollywood song to enhance the pseudo-psychedelic effects. The film material covers a very wide range of found footage from various sources and decades starting in the 1930s (invisible woman) until the end of the 1980s.

Part 2

Luke Fowler What You See Is Where You're At
UK, 2001, 24 minutes colour, sound, video

“The film is based on unique research into the 'Kingsley Hall' experiment on the initiative of the Scottish psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and writer R.D. Laing. This brave new experiment consisted in breaking down the established norms of 'treatment' for people under-going severe mental distress or breakdown. In Kingsley Hall the pre-conceived hierarchy of doctor-patient relations was dismantled, henceforth no one was encouraged to act out the roles of 'doctors' or 'patients' (making it very difficult to distinguish one from the other). The film, which is a collage of 'found' and archived sound/film recordings, provides an insight into the experiences of the residents at Kingsley Hall, reappraising its relevance in our contemporary society of oppressive psychiatry and multi-national pharmaceutical companies.” (Meike Behm)

Part 3

Rosalind Nashashibi Flash In The Metropolitan
UK, 2006, 3 minutes colour, silent, 16mm

Shot in 2006 in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, the film tracks through the Near Eastern, African and Oceanic collections, offering fleeting glimpses of statues, bowls and historical artefacts. These ancient objects are granted only a split second in the limelight, lit up by a flashing strobe, but the metronomic regularity of those flashes reverses the transitory nature of these brief glimpses, hinting in three short minutes at the vast, almost unimaginable stretches of time that separate the old objects.

Laure Prouvost The Artist
UK, 2010, 10 minutes, colour, sound, video

Prouvost employs the rhetoric of conventional forms of narration to blur boundaries between the viewers’ perception of the fictional narrative and the reality of the installation. Not to be perceived as a ‘set’ but rather a cacophony of film, painting, sculpture, text and sound, the physical elements in the installation of The Artist become the characters for the ‘film’ and the audience faced with so much information, become at once lost, emphatic and inherently part of the work.

Emily McMehen & Geoffrey Sautner Transmission for Year 0
UK, 2010, 12 minutes, colour, sound, video

The film uses abandoned and experimental military architecture from between the World Wars as pseudo characters, and sets these images against a hybrid text by Paul Virilio and the Futurist movement; it is narrated by psychogeographer and novelist, Iain Sinclair. Transmission proposes a last-man-on-earth scenario where a frenetic radio broadcast being transmitted from an unknown point in time is being received by the decaying buildings, and acting as a call to arms to free themselves from their human uses and achieve their full potential.

Alex Pearl Angel Cottage Protest
UK, 2008, 2 minutes, colour, sound, video

Lindsay Foster Downward Ascension (Ode to the Flaneur)
USA, 2010, 9 minutes, colour, sound, video

“In the desire to escape the confines of the urban and to encounter new and unknown experiences, the artist set out on an unmapped journey. Engaging with so-called outsider communities, Foster confronts the social isolation of the individuals she meets, becoming integrated within their community. Downward Ascension is a record of her own interactions with this society, documenting the relationships she forms and the strong bonds created.” (S1 artspace)

BBC East Midlands News Destination: Geodecity
UK, 2007, 2 minutes, colour, sound, off-air broadcast

Over the weekend of the 4 - 5 August 2007, a new city arose from the ashes of the failed world. Geodecity was built and inhabited by Geo-Pioneers undertaking a pilgrimage to utopia. This is the BBC East Midlands coverage of Reactor's Destination: Geodecity project. © BBC 2007.