My 16mm films aim to create a continuity or parity between disparate artistic media (such as painting and performance), between people and objects, and between internal and social worlds. Human gesture and seductive imagery meet physically mannered artifice to pry loose viewers’ learned habits of perception. Mistranslation opens holes for imagination to enter or exit.
Subjects such as robots, an archive of dream diaries and close-up card magic, are explored within isolated spaces such as the wings of a theatre, a military academy, or a scaled up modernist sculpture. These protective yet fragmented settings, full of seams and shadows, stand in for the capacities of the film medium itself, a permeable container that consumes and recycles the world at large.
Like daydream machines, these films set in motion a gathering of references and desires, creating collisions, compressions, and misaligned projections. Some areas of research that inspire my work include historical and contemporary notions of the ‘gesamtkunstwerk’ (total artwork), cinematic theories of embodied spectatorship, postmodern dance’s task-based movements, scientific and artistic investigations of synaesthesia, genres of performance in which props play a significant role, feminist and gender theory, and the anthropological concept of animism.
At the Ruskin, I teach freely across media and disciplines, and also run a course on filmmaking entitled ‘Film Sensorium’ in which we explore, practically and in theory, the overlap between industrial and art filmmaking, and the manifold sensory and conceptual possibilities opened by the medium.
( all images Courtesy Maureen Paley, London )