Emanuella is an amazing film maker and artist who I’ve had the pleasure to correspond with for years. She made a film of my poetic sequence - Meditations on Strong Tea - which was in my 2014 Rottweiler’s guide to the Down Owner book, and written for tom and val raworth. It’s a beautiful example of abstract intermedia translation, a removed but potent form of collaboration. Her work is wonderful, worth seeking her out.
An amazing job by Dave Spittle curating a wonderful night of cinepoetry during Mahu.
This was a really lovely evening, expertly curated by the generous and eloquent Gareth Evans, putting myself and Chris McCabe into a program of some amazing contemporary American experimental cinema, reading American poets. The Whitechapel is always a good place to read, but to have cinema sit up close with poetry, and to be reading work like O'Hara and Starr Hamilton made it feel completely new to me. A very generous feeling between the filmmakers and film curator Jamie Wyld and us too, this is the kind of thing I'm always happy to be doing.
JOSHUA ALEXANDER & SJ FOWLER
ANIMAL DRUM is a short, conceptual poetic film about disease, menial work and the remnants of the British Empire. It was born out of a collaboration between two fellow and former employees of a major British Museum institution, and draws on shared experiences of the potential, and actual, vapidity of assumptions of improvement and beneficial pedagogy in such institutions, as well as shared negative experiences of a vast, global tourist deluge. In that sense, the film was born mutually, conceived by the two artists at the same time, and created without much dialogue yet with a certain sense of synchronicity.
Animal Drum calls on the miserabalist, absurdist traditions of post-war European avant garde theatre and poetry. By employing the red herring of the Comedia Dell Arte ‘plague doctor’ mask, as a juxtaposition to the glossed over friendliness of a contemporary ‘happy’ urban landscape it invokes deliberate absurdity in its visuals as well as its text. It is London shot, environment specific and includes performance footage from the Science Museum late where SJ Fowler was invited to create a new work in response to the Exponential Horn installation.
Animal Drum is the first in a series of films that explore the sad, macabre, abstract threat of contemporary London culture and psychological geography.