In this unique day-long workshop, US artist Robert Fenz with musician Wadada Leo Smith will explore what it means to improvise in the field and allow your subject and/or location to determine the content and structure of your work.
An inveterate traveller, Fenz has made films all over the world including Brasil, Cuba, Mexico and India. His work is often draws upon ideas of foreigness, politics and displacement. Wadada Leo Smith is an acclaimed avant-garde composer, musician and teacher of African American Improvisation at CalArts.
As part of the day Fenz will screen extracts of a work in progress portrait of acclaimed anthropological filmmaker Robert Gardner, including material recently recorded in Benares (India), West Papau and Ethiopia. Audio field recordings by Fenz and from Robert Gardners archive will also be listened to and discussed in the context of sound–image relationships.
Following an in-depth and discursive introductory session, participants will undertake a collective study of Brick Lane by looking, listening, making sound recordings and shooting 16mm film. At the heart of East London Brick Lane is layered with historical, ethnological, industrial and polical resonances that are exposed on a daily basis.
The day will also include discussion around the ethics of recording, methods of working in the field and immersing oneself in the moment, excercises in looking and listening and a brief introduction to the Bolex camera. Towards the end of the day participant's films will be screened accompanied by sound recordings.
A practical knowledge of filmmaking is not expected or required. Places are extremely limited, so book early to avoid disappointment.
Wadada Leo Smith is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and master improvisationalist whose forty-year career has included performances and recordings with legendary musicians Anthony Braxton, Don Cherry, Jack Dejohnette and Cecil Taylor. An influential composer and teacher of African American Improvisation at Cal Arts, Smith is also known for his work developing a unique music notation system and compositional theory known as "Ankhrasmation."
Robert Fenz is among the more exciting and original young filmmakers working in and against the avant-garde tradition today. He shoots principally in black and white 16mm. Fenz's films have a rare energy and restless beauty that recalls both the jazz-inspired imagery of New York School photographers such as Roy DeCarava and Aaron Siskin and the landscape films of Fenz's former teacher, Peter Hutton. An inveterate traveler, Fenz has made films in Cuba, Mexico, Brazil and, more recently, India and France. He has also worked as a cinematographer on several films including Chantal Akerman's Là-Bas and From the Other Side. He is currently working on an ambitious film that engages the cinematic legacy of pioneering documentarian and HFA founder, Robert Gardner.