Online Exhibition

During this unforseen period of exhibition closures, we'll be bringing you a curated selection of artists' moving image work from the Arts Council Collection with an online programme of single screen works, selected by the Collection team and our partners around the UK.

Each week while galleries and museums remain closed, we'll be uploading a new film to the website for you to enjoy.

Follow us on Instagram and Twitter for weekly programme updates and to enjoy other digital highlights from the Collection.

Week 12:

Lawrence Abu Hamdan

The All-Hearing

2014

13 minutes

Selected by Blair Todd, Programme Curator / Deputy Director at Newlyn Art Gallery

Blair Todd, Programme Curator and Deputy Director at Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange in Cornwall, selects Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s The All-Hearing, 2014:

"As we emerge out of lockdown, the noise of the world around us returns. Though with so many sounds and voices at once, are we always able to listen? This bustling, poetic film layers and weaves ideas of faith, politics and society; I am drawn back to it again and again."

Lawrence Abu Hamdan is an artist whose audio investigations expose and attempt to define the politics of listening. Refusing to admit a distinction between aesthetics and politics, Abu Hamdan has produced work in the form of advocacy and legal testimonies, as well as performances in galleries and theatres. His film The All-Hearing (2014) is concerned with noise pollution and freedom of speech in Cario, a city where average noise levels sit at a deafening 85 decibels.

 It addresses the ways in which new laws in the city, ostensibly brought in to curb noise pollution, have ‘[enforced] Sheikhs to only give speeches according to the weekly government-sanctioned topic’. Following an invitation from Abu Hamdan, two Sheikhs defiantly deliver sermons on a non-sanctioned topic, ‘the ethics of the sonic environment of the city.’

Artist's website

Week 11:

Helen Cammock

There’s a Hole in the Sky Part II: Listening to James Baldwin

2016

11 minutes 10 seconds

Selected by Suzanna Petot, National Partners Programme Administrator

This week, Arts Council Collection's National Partners Programme Administrator, Suzanna Petot, selects Helen Cammock’s There’s a Hole in the Sky Part II: Listening to James Baldwin, 2016:

"I chose this piece because of how powerfully Helen Cammock's voice augments the beautiful, varied imagery of East London and the Caribbean island of Barbados, linked together by the history of the sugar trade. Her imagined conversation with James Baldwin in this film about failing institutions and the dynamics of appropriation and power clearly resonate today. The line "...I don't know how long we can live with these beautiful, boundless concretized myths...” has stuck with me because of this, repeating over and over in my head."

Artists' website

Week 10:

Frances Disley

RRR

2018

34 minutes 19 seconds

Selected by Stuart Tulloch, Head of Programme, Firstsite

This week, Stuart Tulloch, Head of Programme at Firstsite, selects Frances Disley’s RRR, 2018:

 

“RRR. Dance Workout. Release. Re-energise. Restore. The perfect antidote for lockdown. I love how this film brings together its layers of references and inspirations from painting, online exercise and clubbing. It makes me happy that this is a part of the Arts Council Collection, and a joy that it was commissioned by a public library.”

Frances Disley works with form and colour, using her own body to animate the painted objects and surfaces that she creates. She explores the potential of working with performance, which expands the gesture of painting across sculptures, garments and backdrops.

Artist's website

Week 9:

Imogen Stidworthy

Barrabackslarrabang

2009

9 minutes 13 seconds

Selected by Beth Hughes, ACC Curator

Filmed in two Liverpool pubs, Imogen Stidworthy’s Barrabackslarrabang features individuals speaking in a local form of backslang. Traditionally, blackslang – which consists of the insertion of extra vowels and syllables into ordinary speech – was used to obscure discussion about illegal activity. As Stidworthy comments, this language repels and alienates all but those ‘in the know’.

Stidworthy investigates different forms of language and voicing. Through videos, sound works and installations she explores what other forms of meaning emerge at the borders of language, and how they affect social relationship, sense of self, and the binary thinking that language holds in place.

She states: ‘I think one of the ongoing conditions of language in many of my works is that there is a very ambiguous, very unstable status in terms of the idea that it can carry meaning, or the kinds of meaning that it does carry.’

Read the full transcipt.

Week 8:

Alan Currall

Word Processing

1995

6 minutes 21 seconds

Selected by Josh Dowson, ACC Collections and Operations Manager

Week 7:

15 Days, Imran Perretta

2018

12 minutes

Selected by Jon Weston, Exhibitions Officer, Contemporary Visual Arts at Sunderland Culture

Imran Perretta’s multidisciplinary practice encompasses sound, performance, poetry and moving image. His video work 15 days, 2018 is inspired by the time that he spent with former inhabitants of the refugee camp near Calais, France that became known as the Jungle. After the camp was destroyed in 2016, its former inhabitants began living rough in the surrounding woods and fields.

The title of the piece is not a measure of the length of Perretta’s stay, but rather a salute to the hastily made-up name of one of the people he befriended. The alias ‘15 days’ may allude to the period since this man’s latest temporary camp was demolished, or perhaps reference the time he has been waiting in limbo, in the hope of a new and better life.

Perretta’s work realises this state of uncertainty, animating a bleak environment against a backdrop of dank digital trees and muddy scrubland, interspersed with handheld footage shot on location in France. We see a tent flapping in the breeze, its flimsy outline a reminder of all that stands between its occupant and the world. Uncomfortable yet compelling, the work captures the intense emotions of living on the edge, bringing them to the centre of the viewer’s thoughts.

15 days was commissioned for the Jerwood/FVU Awards 2018: Unintended Consequences, a collaboration between Jerwood Charitable Foundation and Film and Video Umbrella. FVU is supported by Arts Council England.

 

Refugee Week 2020 runs from 15-21 June

Week 6:

Tropicalité, l'Ile et Exote

Paul Maheke

2014

12 minutes 50 seconds

Selected by Heather Welsh, Arts Council Collection Marketing Officer

This week, Arts Council Collection Marketing Officer, Heather Welsh, selects Paul Maheke’s Tropicalité, l'Île et l'Exote, 2014:

"I chose this work because it feels just as important today as when it was made in 2014. Tropicalité, l'Ile et Exote features sweeping, soothing seascapes as well as footage of Maheke himself performing an inspired, improvised dance sequence - his work disrupts representations of queer Blackness which have grown out of Western discourse."

Week 5:

Fancy Pictures

Mark Neville

2008

17 minutes 16 seconds

Selected by Jill Constantine, Director of the Arts Council Collection

This week, Director of the Arts Council Collection, Jill Constantine, selects Mark Neville’s Fancy Pictures, 2008:

"I chose Mark’s work because of his clear observational ability. Immersing himself in the communities he works with his practice reveals his strong desire to give something back to them. From The Isle of Bute, to Port Glasgow, Helmand Province and rural Brittany he enables us to see and understand better the lives of people across the globe."

Week 4:

The Girl Chewing Gum

John Smith

1976

12 minutes

Selected by Rob Hill, Digital Manager

This week, Arts Council Collection Digital Manager, Rob Hill, selects John Smith’s The Girl Chewing Gum, 1976:

"The Girl Chewing Gum is a touchstone of experimental film and a long time favourite of mine. The film’s subtle absurdist humour and illusion of control seem a good fit for these strange times of social distancing when the use of public space is under such massive scrutiny."

Week 3:

The Gender Song

Evan Ifekoya

2014

2 minutes 32 seconds

Selected by Beth Hughes, Curator

The Gender Song (2014) is a defiant call to end limiting gender categorization spun over a dancehall riddim. It is one of four in a series of works that seek to queer the music video format.

Evan Ifekoya’s moving image, sound and performance practices speak to, and with, the many intersecting forces that constitute their works.

Using tools such as speculative fiction, polyvocality, co-operative making and personal ritual, Ifekoya questions and reconstitutes black queer knowledge production.

Artist’s website

 

 

Week 2:

FF Gaiden: Delete

Larry Achiampong and David Blandy

2016

33 minutes 9 seconds

Selected by Beth Hughes, Curator

This week, Arts Council Collection Curator, Beth Hughes, selects Larry Achiampong and David Blandy’s FF Gaiden: Delete, 2016:

“I’m interested in hearing the stories of others, learning what other people’s lives are like and what they have to contend with. The accounts given in FF Gaiden: Delete stayed with me long after the film ended as these people have lived through and continue to live through horrendous oppression that is so far outside my realm of experience. There is something in the way the work presents these stories that really lasts; the synthetic, monotone voice devoid of emotion is matter-of-fact instructing us that this is what happened and we need to hear it. They are individual accounts but I imagine there are too many other people who have similar truths to tell.”

Week 1:

Arts Council GB Scratch

George Barber

1988

1 minute, 31 seconds

Selected by Josh Dowson, Collections and Operations Manager

This week, ACC Collections and Operations Manager,  Josh Dowson, selects George Barber’s Arts Council GB Scratch, 1988:

The ‘Scratch!’ show at the Thamesmeade Arts and Culture Office (Taco) was one of my favourite exhibitions last year. I cycled there, along the Thames path, from my home in East London on a sunny day. Watching ‘Arts Council Scratch GB’ reminds me of a time when we were able to leave our homes to enjoy such things!"

 

George Barber’s low-tech ‘cut up’ video works, which helped define the ‘slacker’ aesthetic of the early 1990s, make use of found footage from news reports, adverts and music videos. The short film Arts Council GB Scratch samples a number of different people – from politicians, TV presenters and artists – pronouncing on the visual arts.

While some of the people in the film are familiar – most notably David Hockney and Bridget Riley – others seem to have been pulled from, or have since fallen into, obscurity. During the film abstract sculptural work by artists such as Carl Andre and Anthony Caro are juxtaposed with animated geometric shapes borrowed from the visual language of contemporary video games.

>> Artist's website

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The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

With more than 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the country and beyond. This website offers unprecedented access to the Collection, and information about each work can be found on this site.