Thursday, June 26, 2008

Alternative Practice in the 1980s

My first degree was in Fine Art, but not just Fine Art: 'BA (Hons) Fine Art (Alternative Practice)'. The brackets-Alternative-Practice-close-brackets bit meant things that weren't painting or sculpture, though it sounds like 'general weirdness'. Mostly I made video pieces, some of which surfaced recently in the archives of Lux. They kindly put them on a disc for me, corrupted and damaged as they (like myself) are after a quarter of a century in a vault. Here's one I still quite like. It starts blank and lasts 7'41"



The good and bad qualities of this piece probably result from its having been conceived and made in the space of a couple of hours. I remember being in a presentation by a visiting artist, whose work seemed to me to be entirely referential to other work, though technically very accomplished. I fancied making something that wasn't just about art itself, that was lo-tech and in fact about the contrast between flawed bodies and pristine technology. Based on a conversation I had had (on the bus back from a night out in Brighton) with a guy I was at primary school with who had become a fireman, plus some other stuff, I did the above, basically by walking into the studio and making it. Elb Hall was the cameraman - cheers Elb.

Meanwhile, 25 years later, I'm still doing the same kind of thing. Check out my improv roleplay in this one, filmed when a camera was thrust at me as I emerged from the Guardian HE Summit. I (and sometimes my mutant thumbs) am in various segments starting at 00:01:56

2 comments:

jellynewt said...

At this rate your thumbs are going to be more famous than you - talk about star of the show - they're upstaging you at every turn.
Do you think it's like one of those old sf films where your mutant thumbs actually have their own consciousness and are secretly out for glory? Or do they have the consciousness of the person whose feet they formerly belonged to? Maybe s/he was a psychopath and one day in the future we'll see the emergence of your murderous thumbs, and you'll have to sit on your hands all day just to control them...

Sharon J said...

Mister Roy, you're famous!

And young... once....

*snigger*