Tintype Gallery, London
10 December 2015 – 16 January, 2016
Tintype is delighted to announce the second edition of its Essex Road Project. Essex Road II is comprised of eight specially commissioned short films by critically acclaimed artist-filmmakers, each inspired by the north London street from which the project takes its name, and where the gallery is also located. Five minutes or less in length, the films are back-projected onto the gallery’s large window, and can be viewed from the street seven days a week between 4 and 11pm.
Says Tintype director, Teresa Grimes: ‘The pleasure of this project is knowing that what started as an idle thought – me staring out of our large window – has become this event that people remember and look forward to. And it has been an equal pleasure to work with eight exceptional artists, all of whom have produced films that are thought-provoking, beautiful, poetic and mesmerizing in equal measure.’
About the films:
Jordan Baseman: Over the course of a week, Jordan Basemen walked up and down Essex Road at night with a 16mm camera, taking near random, long exposure shots. Each time he reached the end of the film, he rewound and filmed over what he had already recorded. His aim is to create a psychedelic portrait of the street at night, with multiple exposure visuals that collide, overlap, compliment and disturb one another. Helen Benigson: Benigson’s video is inspired by the hen parties that take place on Essex Road and thereabouts on Friday and Saturday nights. Using fast paced text, her film is a visceral celebration of this female ritual – carnivalesque, pulsating and anthropomorphic, referencing contemporary community, performance and what it means to share in the context of marriage and friendship. Benigson’s video attempts to arouse libidinal and corporeal concerns within a nightlife framework of body, city and space.
Sebastian Buerkner: Buerkner’s film is based on the premise of a night bus journey down Essex Road using his innovative animation techniques, cutting-edge digital technology and abstract imagery to create a multi-layered interpretation of a real-time situation.
Jem Cohen: Cohen’s film responds to Essex Road built from street footage, portraits and sound recordings. He says: ‘I’ve come to feel that, especially in the city portraits, my role is a bit like that of an improvisational musician, with the camera as a kind of instrument and the world itself a series of forces to react to, but primarily from the gut and on the spur of the moment. The street should be a free space, belonging to everyone, where anything can happen, where everything isn’t controlled.’
Ruth Maclennan: Maclennan’s film takes as its starting point the image of Essex Road as a place where lives have landed, and flourished, and mixed with each other in wild, beautiful, unexpected ways. Plants (invasive species, or proud garden trophies), seeds blown in or dropped by birds, animals (cats, foxes, exotic ducks – alive, or stuffed, as in the window next door to Tintype), as well as people, arrive from near and far. The New River nearby – neither a river nor new – is an oasis of wildlife and species that we have forgotten were not British, amongst the pipes that used to bring clean water to the city. The film focuses on Zigni House, an Eritrean restaurant on Essex Road, and the stories of its cook, Haile, author of the first Eritrean cookbook. The film is a celebration of the collision of all kinds of life on Essex Road—literally in the form of food and plant life and the river, real and metaphorical—and at the same time aims to bring out the contradictions, the ambivalent atomization and the hypocrisies of contemporary life in the city.
Melanie Manchot: Manchot’s film is a continuous tracking shot going down Essex Road. She invited a multitude of people living and working on or near the street to participate in this brief ‘performance’, which becomes a group portrait of the residents and shopkeepers on the street.
Uriel Orlow: Playwright and author Joe Orton and actor, writer and collagist Kenneth Halliwell, Orton’s lover and eventual murderer, lived in Islington. The focus of Uriel Orlow’s film is Edna Walthorpe – Joe Orton’s fictional alter ego, conjured up by performance artists Adam Christensen and Marcia Farquhar. Orton used Edna’s letters to goad authority into revealing their own innate idiocy and double standards. Filmed on the doorstep of Joe Orton’s house, Edna’s letters to the Ritz Hotel, church halls and food companies feel oddly familiar and contemporary.
John Smith: Smith’s film revolves around the deliberate misuse of the Word Lens Translator app for smart phones. Interested in how this software interprets (and especially misinterprets) images incorporating text, particularly the coincidental meanings that come about through the mistranslation of the camera’s view, his piece for Tintype involved fixing his iPhone to the lens of his video camera and filming its screen as it attempted to translate a selection of shop signs, notices and street menus in the vicinity of the gallery. With the translation option set to translate from French to English the software became confused and tried to read English signs as French, as well as reading graphic architectural shapes as words.
More information: www.tintypegallery.com