UCCA brings This is Now: Film and Video After Punk, a major new touring project that looks at artists’ film and video from the post-punk era (1979–85). The project is co-organised by the British Council and LUX, comprises seven screening programmes and is developed in partnership with the BFI National Archive.
In the early 1980s, clubbers, art students, New Romantics and members of the post-punk scene used inexpensive, domestic technology to find new modes of expression and subvert the mainstream media. Independent VHS tapes were released, stridently bypassing censorship, and Super 8 film was embraced as a cheap yet distinctly lyrical and direct new medium. The DIY approach of punk was powerfully reborn.
These programmes focus on work from the early 1980s that explore the blurred lines between media images and identity, creating new dialogues between the self and the world. It was an uncertain, politically contentious time; a time in which – very much like today with the internet – technology appeared to ease life, yet also created gaps between people. Artists considered what images and technology could mean and be in their fullest sense.
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6.30（Sat）13:30-15:00 Performing the Self
6.30（Sat）15:30-17:00 Home Taping
6.30（Sat）17:30-19:00 Just Images
6.30（Sat）19:30-21:00 Before and After Science
7.1（Sun）14:00-15:30 Through a Glass, Darkly
7.1（Sun）16:00-17:30 Video Killed the Radio Star
7.1（Sun）18:00-19:30 Entering the Dream Space
Performing the Self
New ways of thinking about identity, the self and the body were all part of punk’s powerful legacy. This unlikely cocktail of visionary experimental films and bright, brash pop videos shows how visual culture changed radically at the start of the 1980s. Genre boundaries became blurred and the use of masks and make-up challenged the conventions of identity construction and representation – often to the sound of a catchy electronic melody.
Still Life With Phrenology Head, 1979, Cerith Wyn Evans, 14min
Human League: Don’t You Want Me, 1981, Steve Barron, 4 min
Song Chat Rap, 1983, John Scarlett-Davis, 15min
Adam Ant: Prince Charming, 1981, Mike Mansfield & Adam Ant, 3 min
Adam Ant: Stand and Deliver, 1981, Mike Mansfield & Adam Ant, 3 min
The Modern Image, 1978, John Maybury, 13 min
Solitude, 1981, John Maybury, 13 min
Bungalow Depression, 1981, Grayson Perry & Jennifer Binnie, 4 min
The Private View, 1981, The Neo-Naturists, 7 min
The mainstream media was treated like a giant library to be plundered for provocative play and subversion in the early 1980s. Whether filming their TV screen with a Super 8 camera or deftly copying tape-to-tape, artists grabbed and juxtaposed disparate material to disrupt the dominant ideologies of the age and create new visual music. The programme includes notable examples of the Scratch Video phenomenon.
The Attitude Assumed: Still Life With Still Born, 1980, Cerith Wyn Evans, 19min
Skinheads and Roses, 1983, Jill Westwood, 7 min
Pop Dolphin, 1983, Jeffrey Hinton, 23 min
Tilt, 1984, George Barber, 6 min
Branson, 1983, George Barber, 2 min
Blue Monday, 1984, Duvet Brothers, 4 min
The Commander in Chief, 1984, Gorilla Tapes, 4 min
Art of Noise: Legs, 1985, George Barber & George Snow, 6 min
Passion Tryptych, 1982, Cordelia Swann, 4 min
The moral, political and symbolic integrity of the image itself is interrogated and overturned in these richly textured films. John Maybury casts Siouxsie Sioux and fashion designer David Holah in one of the singularly most stunning and ambitious Super 8 works of the era, the existential genderfuck Court of Miracles. Young filmmakers bring on the post-modern age.
Court of Miracles, 1982, John Maybury, 44min
Glory Boysv, 1983, Vanda Carter, 4 min
Territories, 1984, Isaac Julien, 24 min
Psychic TV: Unclean, 1984, Cerith Wyn Evans & John Maybury, 9 min
Before and After Science
Grayson Perry, Anna Thew and Steven Chivers conjure strange, new, lo-fi worlds with the help of close friends and collaborators, resisting both modern, Christian patriarchy and the conventions of traditional movie-making. Folk tales and arcane beliefs are re-imagined on Super 8 and London is turned into a bleak, austere, post-apocalyptic world.
Lost For Words, 1980, Anna Thew, 26min
The Green Witch and Merry Diana, 1984, Grayson Perry, 20 min
Men Without Hats: Safety Dance, 1982, Tim Pope, 3 min
Catherine De Medicis Part 2, 1984, Steven Chivers, 25 min
Through a Glass, Darkly
Provocative filmmakers in the early 1980s pursued occult interests, treating the moving image like a mirror or a crystal ball; a surface of divination to remap perception and question distinctions between what is and what might be, the objective and the subjective, the body and the mind. The programme includes challenging, transgressive work originally connected to the industrial scene.
The Wound, 1984, Jill Westwood, 18 min
Winter Journey in the Hartz Mountains, 1983, Cordelia Swann, 12 min
Liquid Video, 1983, Michael Kostiff, 10 min
The Branks, 1982, Akiko Hada, 7 min
All Veneer and No Backbone, 1980-84, Holly Warburton, 5 min
Skidoo: F.U.G.I., 1983, Richard Heslop, 5 min
Grayson/Flowers/Jewels, 1985, Jennifer Binnie, 3 min
Lyrical Doubt, 1984, Judith Goddard, 16 min
Video Killed the Radio Star
Early independent video releases were the revolutionary, DIY antidote to a television system that was only just gearing up to a fourth channel. They bypassed censorship and provided a platform to the marginalised and unsanctioned. This eclectic selection includes a very rare John Smith title and punchy, stuttering Scratch Video works by The Duvet Brothers, Kim Flitcroft & Sandra Goldbacher, Gorilla Tapes and George Barber.
Echo and the Bunnymen: Shine So Hard, 1981, John Smith, 32min
The Miners’ Campaign Tapes: The Lie Machine, 1984, dir. Various, 16 min
The Greatest Hits of Scratch Video Volume 2, 1984, dir. Various, 28 min
Entering the Dream Space
Weaving together film and video, often utilising religious imagery and introducing colour effects and surface texture, filmmakers generated a new, vividly transcendental style by the end of the post-punk era. Key examples of this sensual, visually mature work are presented alongside other dynamic, hallucinogenic pieces that explore the dreamlike state.
The Technology of Souls, 1981, John Maybury, 11min
In Excelsis Deo, 1983, Sophie Muller, 26 min
The Miracle of the Rose, 1984, Cerith Wyn Evans, 25 min
The Union Jacking Up, 1985, John Maybury, 18 min
Guangdong Times Museum
- 2018.6.30 – 2018.7.1
- English language with Chinese subtitles