Crow / Pylon Configuration

In 1995 I applied for a commission offered by SWA (south west arts, precursor to Arts Council South West) and HTV . Much to my amazement I received an award to make the film. That film was Crow | Pylon Configuration. Please remember if you watch this film that is was shot on super 8mm, telecined to broadcast SD video, onlined down to one master BetaSP tape, duped to VHS, copied to MDV, imported into an NLE, exported to a .mov file then converted to a smallish .mp4!

 

Essentially my idea was to explore how two different approaches to two different objects could be combined in a single film to reveal new subjectivities and hidden relations. The film was shot entirely on super 8mm using at that time the four available stocks (each stock appears at least once in the film suggesting another layer of reference).

 

I edited each screen (the film uses twin-screen mode) on super 8 and had to combine them at the online stage after the rolls had been telecined onto BetaSP (no digibeta then). I made field recordings during the making and a musician/sound artist made effects and audio tracks from these and various voice overs consisting of published texts and original texts of my own. These were all layered down at the online session. As far as I can remember there was no grading.

The final film was finished on tape (BetaSP) runs at about 6 minutes and had at least one terrestial TV transmission. I was interviewed by Toyah Willcox for the TV slot which contained the commissions (there were three in all, nine in the series over 3 years). Regards must go to Judith Higginbottom (SWA) and Abigail Davies (HTV) for their vision back then.

I’m really glad the ident card is on the tape, just in case no one believes it was on TV.

I’ve got numerous anecdotes about things that happened during the making of this film. HTV studios had a ‘brown out’ and the number of Ravens living at the tower of London fell below 6 which signifies the end of the crown and the fall of Britain.

There were a few things I was unable to do back in 1995, specifically develop the film to its planned 10 minutes. Because of time restrictions I was advised to bring the film in as much under 10 minutes as possible (maybe thats TV for you). I had planned for the last section of the film to develop in a  strong counter direction employing extreme time-lapse and more abstract imagery.

I am currently working on re-telecine for the original and also planning some of the later stage photography.

I didn’t receive a credit for the film. Instead I signed it ‘FLG‘ an anonymous moniker or cognomen I used for various film related projects back then. Anonymity in Art production was and still is quite a powerful and political strategy.

In the interview Toyah said ‘ Your film is like classic avant-garde. At times I thought I understood what it was about, then it was gone as soon as I had stalled,  observing my own realisations about it’. or something like that.

The film is undergoing a remix and has informed my interest in exploring experimental wildlife films currently being developed by a new film ‘Jaws’ which is planned to be about the Woodlouse Spider (dysdera crocata) as well as a meditation on Death and transformation.