Following the success of no.w.here's Experimental Folklore: Jack in the Green
workshop, we are pleased to announce a unique opportunity to learn how to work with Super 8 film in low light conditions whilst attending a centuries old bonfire custom in Sussex.
As the recent British Folk Art show at Tate Britain demonstrates, seasonal folk customs are increasingly seen as an enriching means for communities to come together and perform unique historical and ritual acts across both rural and urban landscapes. Engaging, noisily playful and idiosyncratic, these rites are also a quietly powerful way to resist authority and maintain local expression and community cohesion at a time of increasing regulation, de-personalisation, and privatisation of public space and institutions.
The workshop examines how the sensorial aspects of these live traditions might be captured on film through the mechanics and optics of the Super 8 camera, examining conceptual and practical concerns of the use of film, and the role of the artist filmmaker in the exploration of such rites and performances.
The workshop begins with a conceptual screening of works centred around themes of performance, experimental ethnography, and the politics and ethics of documentary representation. To frame discussions and practical exercises, excerpts of Rosalind Fowler and James Holcombe’s work will be screened, as well as work from a range of artist filmmakers including Adam Chodzco, Ken McMullen, Cameron Jamie, Nicholas Phillpot, and Maya Deren.
These will be considered alongside mainstream media representations of folk customs drawing on a range of documentary, photographic and news footage materials. In addition to these, we will consider technical examples of low light filmmaking in other contexts.
Participants will then learn how to use Super 8 cameras they have bought or borrowed from no.w.here, and the different functions available on the camera such as single frame exposures, slow and fast motion, time lapse, ways of moving with and holding the camera, and playing with the potential edges of low light cine photography.
Following this we will then catch a train to Battle* in Sussex, capturing the processional fireworks and bonfire on film before returning to London on the last available train.**
On day two we will meet in groups to hand process the footage in colour chemistry. Over the course of the day films will be processed and dried in the lab at no.w.here. There will also be opportunities to experiment with painting on film and working on sound edits, building to a final projection where participants introduce the films and play back any sound pieces made.
About the Facilitators
Rosalind Fowler is an artist filmmaker with a background in film, cultural geography and visual anthropology. She recently completed Folk In Her Machine, an AHRC-funded film on performative folk traditions and wider themes of place and belonging in contemporary Britain. The film recently premiered at PLACE: Occupy, a cross-platform festival in Suffolk curated by Gareth Evans (Whitechapel gallery), and was screened at the William Morris gallery as part of a late night opening of Jeremy Deller’s Venice biennale touring piece 'English Magic'. She is currently working on an alternative filmic portrait of Chelsea, seeking
out the hidden and esoteric in a neighbourhood associated with extremes of wealth and privilege.
Rosalind Fowler http://rosalindfowler.co.uk/
James Holcombe makes both single screen and performative works using film and video, exploring the medium of film within its performative and material qualities. James teaches
the workshops onsite at no.w.here and is currently working on a film about the Tyburn Gallows in London, which ties together the history, politics, superstitions and folklore of the gallows in relation to early English capitalism, drawing parallels with the times in which we live. James also actively curates and performs expanded sound and image work.
James Holcombe http://jamesholcombe.net/
About Battel Bonfire
There is a suggestion that Guy Fawkes purchased the gunpowder with which he intended to destroy the House of Parliament from the Battle Powder Mills. There are records In 1646 of an organised Bonfire Celebration in the 'Town of Battel', with St Mary`s Church allocated funds for 'gunpowder treason rejoicing'. For a detailes timeline and history of Battle Bonfire please see: Battel Bonfire Society
All images of Battel Bonfire: Roz Bassford-South
* Although the bonfire takes place in the town of Battle, in this context the Bonfire Society retain the older spelling of Battel.
** Please note your train ticket price is not included in the cost of this workshop, and that you are responsible for booking the correct ticket time. On Saturday the 1st November the train currently costs £27.10. Trains take around 1 hour and 27minutes. We will catch the 4.45pm train from Charing Cross which arrives at 6.03pm in Battle. A highly evocative costumed torchlit procession to the fire site begins at 6:30pm. We will catch the return train at 10.07pm which arrives in London at 11.33pm