UCCA Beijing

This Is Now: Film and Video After Punk

2018.6.30 - 2018.7.1

Cinema Arts
Location:  Auditorium
Language:  English language with Chinese subtitles

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.


25 RMB/UCCA member

50 RMB/Adult

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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

About the film

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.

Video Information:
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

Home Taping
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.

Video Information:
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

Just Images

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.

Video Information:

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.

Video Information:

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.

Video Information:

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.

Video Information:

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.

Video Information:

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


British Council


Special thanks to the support from

Guangdong Times Museum

Projection Support


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