Artists Film Screenings + Q&A: Richard Grayson and Jennet Thomas
Thu 16 Feb. 6.30pm
Richard Grayson: The Magpie Index (2010, 68m, Locus+/De La Warr Pavilion)
Jennet Thomas: Return of the Black Tower [after John Smith] (2007, 15m, Peer)
Followed by a Q&A conducted by Keira Greene, Artist
In Richard Grayson’s video The Magpie Index, legendary singer-songwriter Roy Harper delivers a series of monologues to camera. Each section addresses a different aspect of Harper’s work, his philosophy and history, covering the counter culture; religion and superstition; ornithology; nature and the environment; political engagement and the end of politics. The film explores the ways that a fierce personal vision has developed and how this might have shaped the belief systems of a cultural movement. The work moves from the biographical into the social and cultural spheres to present this individual voice in ways that allude to the traditions of the radical non-conformist, the visionary and the outsider.
Jennet Thomas’ work playfully combines a variety of filmic languages ranging from soap operas to experimental and underground filmmaking, and from sci-fi to musicals. In her film Return of the Black Tower [after John Smith], Thomas takes as her starting point a work by structuralist filmmaker John Smith called The Black Tower, made in 1987. Although there is a similarly dark absurdist tone and a sense of the power and fragility of the imagination in both, Smith’s protagonist is menaced by a quotidian and tangible object — the black tower near his home in east London — whereas Thomas’ characters are afflicted by an unnameable though not unwelcome controlling force.