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Film Poetry and Authenticity

In Art, film, filmmakers, poetry, Uncategorized on August 7, 2012 at 8:33 pm

I am not talking specifically about lo-fi filmmaking – with enough conviction you can shoot on anything – truly poetic cinema transcends its medium.

For me, the idea of ‘film poetry’ is intrinsically bound up with authenticity; contrived, conceited and overtly self-aware films will struggle to communicate with the same depth and pull (one constantly being reminded they are watching A Film). Authenticity is humbling, engaging (effective as any scriptwriting formula) and altogether human.

Eschewing tackier modes of delivering a narrative in favour of creating something truly personal is difficult – can feel downright punitive (certainly if you’re as doubtful of yourself as I am when working creatively); easy to become disenchanted early on. Over-analysis is the enemy of free-rolling thought – I find it most effective to Stop Thinking So Hard (especially during the early stages of an idea). We have more preconceptions than we realise.

I ran my first filmmaking workshop last month and assaulted my audience with a deluge of instruction for some time before realising I was making the same mistake I’ve made for many years in writing and shooting films – doing can be writing, writing leads to doing-to-writing-and-on. This doesn’t (necessarily) mean shooting. It means submerging oneself utterly in the experience of the film during its creation – being honest to it. ‘Knowing your film’.

If you know your film, you’ll make your film, because you’ll be very aware of any development towards your film that isn’t your film. A purity of vision, I guess… perhaps this is film poetry?

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Keep the (urban-walking) faith!

In Uncategorized on June 23, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Guest blog by Tina Richardson, University of Leeds

This blog will provide basic instructions how to carry out a dérive, while at the same time attempting to keep within the theme of your blog. So, in between a guide on how to do a bit of psychogeography, there will be some images of Leeds taken on my own dérives, along with their relevant postcodes.

LS4 Kirkstall Electricity Substation

In The Theory of the Dérive the Situationist Guy Debord provides extensive instructions on how to partake in a dérive (drift). The dérive involves moving through the city in a new way by creating different paths by chance. There are a number of methods of doing this, and new ones can be invented, for example drawing a map of one city on top of another and attempting to follow that route. In terms of the philosophy behind it, Debord says: “Progress is nothing other than breaking through a field where chance holds sway by creating new conditions more favorable to our purposes.” (1996: 23). This purpose being to challenge capital as it appears in the form of the spectacle: “The spectacle is not a collection of images, rather it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images.” (Debord 2005: 4).

LS6 Arndale Centre, Headingley

Abdelhafid Khatib, described the dérive, thus: “At the same time as being a form of action, it is a means of knowledge […]” (1996: 73). For the Situationists it was important that these walks could not be considered a “journey” or a “stroll”. Despite the fact that a playful element was deemed essential, those taking part were expected to be conscious of the environment, especially in the way it tied in with a critique of capitalism. Urban walkers were encouraged to be aware of “fissures in the urban network, […] microclimates, […] administrative districts, and above all the dominating action of centers of attraction” (Debord 1996: 22). It was the domineering appropriation of space by capitalism that troubled the Situationists so much, they believed that people did not live in the city but in the hierarchy formed through the urban environment.

LS11 Subway in Holbeck

The Situationists attempted to rearrange the material matter that appeared as urban décor, and even if they could not do this in concrete space, they had every intention of changing the psychic space of urbanism. These dérives became ‘moments’, or situations: “The ‘moment’ is mainly temporal, forming part of a zone of temporality, not pure but dominant. Articulated in relation to a given place, the situation is completely spatio-temporal […]” (Situationist International 1996: 101). The Situationists project directed at urbanism was about seizing a moment in time and space and attempting to change its aesthetics for a short time. They were conscious of the effects that the environment have on the individual, and wanted those on the dérives to be both aware of this and at the same time attempt to let notions of the dominance of the capitalist city be temporarily stemmed. The dérives were considered a process of surveying space and consequently enabling a new narrative to arise from it.

LS18 Empty Shop in Horsforth

Situationist Psychogeography Methodology

  • Chance, randomness
  • Playful but constructive
  • Need to let-go and be conscious at the same time
  • Spatial field: single city, neighbourhood, or defined region
  • Be aware of: liminal (threshold, edge) spaces and interstitial (in-between) spaces
  • Recommendation: 5 people max
  • Usually limit number of hours and define that as a single derive

Examples for planning a route…

  • Turn left, then left, then right
  • Throw dice (attach criteria to numbers)
  • Draw the outline of one city over another (Situationists)
  • Follow subconscious urges, free from the voice of reason (Surrealists)
  • In pairs: one blindfolded (enables other senses to operate better)
  • In a group: one person writes a place of aesthetic interest on a piece of paper, folds over, and hands to the next person, etc. Plot the places on a map and visit them in turn.

LS12 Bridge and Pipes in Armley

In 2011 I took a group of design students at the University of Leeds on a psychogeographical trip to Armley in Leeds. In preparation for the walks I created these two blogs, which you might find interesting/useful:

Armed for Armley – Part 1:

Leeds Industrial Museum Reconnaissance

Armed for Armley – Part 2:

A Psychogeographer’s Aesthetic Response to the Leeds Industrial Museum Grounds

Thank you for inviting me to write a guest blog.

Keep the (urban-walking) faith!

Links:

Tina’s website: schizocartography

Particulations: psychogeography blog

Bibliography:

Debord, Guy. 2005. The Society of the Spectacle (Detroit: Black and Red).

Situationist International. 1996. Theory of the Dérive and Other Situationist Writings on the City, ed. by Libero Andreotti and Xavier Costa (Barcelona: Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona).

In Uncategorized on June 11, 2012 at 12:57 am

Fascinating initiative by two refreshing postgraduates, This Collection is happy to celebrate a renewal with their unique installation interpretation of the works to date and a free filmmaking workshop run by Oliver Benton. For more details visit their blog and watch this space!

Under Light and Shadow

Under Light and Shadow is an alternative film event organised by Reui Yen and Hara Vlahou, postgraduate students of Msc Film in the Public Space, as part of  final project.

Inspired by This Collection, a project related with film, poetry and the city of Edinburgh, the event bases on This Collection Archive in order to have This Collection keep on growing and living under the vibrant city Edinburgh. Filmmakers adapt poems from This Collection Archive and translate  words into visual language. The short films screen in loops within five hours. Therefore, viewers can join the screening anytime they wish to. Instead of having a conventional screening, the event constructs a space as video installation. A filmmaking workshop go with the screening is also aim to provide a chance to express yourself with your mobile phone camera or digital camera.

The event will be free admission. Based in the core idea…

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Tuesday afternoon Creative Writing Workshop @ Gorgie City Farm 17th April 2012

In Uncategorized on March 5, 2012 at 12:35 pm
Filmmaking enthusiasts welcome to explore Gorgie City Farm as a location for future productions, meet the poet and other creatives. Juliet Wilson’s poem “Animal Haven” is about Gorgie City Farm. She’s returning there in April to offer a creative writing workshop!
So for anyone out there who would like to write a poem (or anything else!) about Gorgie City Farm, here’s a link to the details: http://julietwilson.net/2012/02/28/creative-writing-workshop-at-gorgie-city-farm/

Farewell Welfare: What can be done?

In Uncategorized on May 5, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Ming Tse interprets Cathy McCormack's message

Friday the 13th and no spooks or serial killers, but a horror of a different kind and you are the heroes.

In face of a community eroded, a division between them and us, systematic stigmitisation and destabilisation of ties that bind, is an apolitcal united front possible?

This Friday the 13th we invite anyone who seeks an alternative to join us to face these demons to dig deep into the dusty forgotten toolkit to recover the power of our hands and feet to see what we can begin to do together.

5-7pm

Conversation with Cathy McCormack: What can be done? Free Film Screening

Activist Campaigner Cathy McCormack was forced to try and keep her three children alive on welfare away back in 1982 when Britain was changed from an industrial to a money market economy; she managed to inspire both rich and poor who supported her to go on a journey all over the world in search of the truth. Now Cathy has come home, and would love to share and engage in real conversations with people who are really interested in asking the same questions and exploring possible solutions. She shares her powerful film “At the Sharp End of the Knife” (52mins) about her visit to the townships of South Africa to meet fellow activists building the ‘New’ South Africa. She may be dodging the bullets, but finds energy and inspiration in the people she meets as she makes intriguing parallels with their lives, and her own back in Glasgow’s infamous Easterhouse housing project.

2-4pm

The screening is preceeded by a unique writer group that meets at 2pm, they share their co-operative practice that has developed over the past 18 months through self governance. Though they originally began in Hillhead Library, the negotiation of use in Public spaces may mean the group will have to migrate soon. Come discover your voice, be inspired perhaps to start your own group to share experiences. Cathy, author of Wee Yellow butterfly, shares her activist writing experience with the group as well.

Entry is Free, All Welcome. The venue can get drafty so please wrap warm and hope to see you there.

Special thanks to http://www.sowestand.com for their support in Glasgow

Friend of thiscollection

In Uncategorized on April 2, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Stan Reeves

Dear poets and filmmakers of thiscollection,

Over the past months your poems and films have inspired an array of workshops and activities based on your words and images have brought new faces and voices to the fore at Tollcross Community Center .

All this would not have been possible without the openness and humane guidance and mentorship of Stan Reeves and the team at Tollcross Community center and Adult Learning Programme.

Stan is retiring April 8th and if you have not had a chance to meet this force of nature I would really recommend you take this chance to bask in the celebration of a dedicated life of care in the community and a voice for the voiceless.

Stan is a photographer, philosopher, sea farer, prophet and a giant of a man.

thiscollection hopes these models will inspire you to continue to engage spaces in your communities to share and develop literary and cultural interests with the many eager folk who are willing to hear from you. If you do please send us your stories to share on our blog.

Please come to a Party to celebrate Stan’s long involvement and achievements with the Adult Learning Project, the Scots Music Group, The Youth Gaitherin, The Welcoming Project, The Tollcross Community Centre and many others over the years.

OUTBOARD FOR CHILEDONIA 8.8. Stan worked with the ‘Chile in Need’ group in Tollcross and raised £3500 to buy a boat to replace the boats wrecked in the Tsunami in Chile last year. He is now working with Carlos Arredondo to raise money to buy a big outboard motor for the Boat. He needs to raise the same again to buy an engine. Stan therefore does not want any gifts but would greatly
appreciate donations towards buying a new outboard motor for the Chile Boat.

If you would like to make a donation cash and cheques can be handed in to Anne Finlay at the Community Centre office or to Susan Kesson at The Welcoming Office, or sent to Brian McGill as shown below. Please make cheques payable to ‘The ALP Association’. You will also be able to make a donation at the Party.

Please join us at Tollcross Community Centre, 117 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh for an evening of music, song, dancing, food and drink on Friday 8th April from 7.00pm onwards.

RSVP to

Brian McGill
ALP Association Treasurer
Tollcross Community Centre
117 Fountainbridge
EDINBURGH
EH3 9QG
Email: alp.association-at-hotmail.co.uk
Telephone: Brian McGill 0131 445 2769
or: Anne Finlay: 0131 221 5800

Property & Theft 25th March 230pm & 630pm

In Uncategorized on March 16, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Visit the Impromptu Unofficial Debt Counsellor

Property and Theft’s opening night in Tollcross was a vibrant success. It brought deep questions about capitalism to the fore through play and creativity. From live impromptu performances of second hand books came scenes form Chekov,”The Cherry Orchard” and a dramatised fragment of “On the Shore of the Wide World” by Simon Stephens celebrated by the curious and sporting participants.

Thiscollection poems inspired Open Source Theatre’s work which seeks to investigate life in decaying capitalism. Visit the impromptu unofficial debt counsellor or take a chance to engage with Rita the gypsy confessional where your consumerist soul will receive due consequence. If the lovingly crafted venue does not charm you into acquiescence then the security guard will address you accordingly. Macy’s market store offers a treasure trove of found remnants of simple pleasures and oddities, yet each object draws out more than just a transaction, if you wish to know more, engage and see.

The session rounds up with an auction of Skills, and the lively barter and trade offer up an alternative definition of surplus in an age of Austerity.

The question remains at the end of this magical spontaneous experience, is have we reaffirmed capitalism or challenged it through the dance.

INTERACTIVE THEATRE BLOG UPDATES

Open Source Theatre Company is developing a project with This Collection poems and Tollcross Community Centre’s Adult Learning Project called “Property and Theft”: it is an interactive theatre project about daily life in a decaying capitalist society. Their blog has more updates of how the process developed.

Last chance to catch this unique intervention
Friday March 25th 2011
Maitinee 2:30pm
Evening 6:30pm

Performances last for an hour and are followed by 30 mins of open discussion about issues raised.

For more info see this blog entry on the Guardian.

Property & Theft: Interactive Theatre March 11 & 25th

Feb 18th Page versus Stage

In Uncategorized on February 10, 2011 at 11:27 am

Page to Stage with poetry

Come to one or both, as you please, all are welcome.

POETRY FOR THE PAGE: OPEN WORKSHOP
Friday 18th Feb
16:00 — 17:30 FREE! Booking required
An open poetry workshop with Claire Askew, poet, Editor in Chief of Read This Magazine, Lecturer in Literature and Communications at Edinburgh’s Telford College and Tutor in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh. Bring up to three poems for discussion, contructive feedback, hints and tips from a small and friendly group. All welcome — no prior workshopping experience necessary!
Interested? Places are limited so please email poetry_at_thiscollection.org to reserve your spot!

POETRY FOR THE STAGE: WRITING OUT LOUD
Friday 18th Feb
18:00 — 20:00 FREE! Booking required

Stick around after Claire’s page workshop and find out how to adapt one of your poems for the stage. Alternatively, come along fresh and learn all about the finer points of performance. Hosted by Harry Giles, writer, theatre director, founder and co-ordinator of Inky Fingers and multiple-award-winning slam poet. All welcome, no experience necessary — just bring yourself, and a poem!
Interested? Places are limited so please email poetry_at_thiscollection.org to reserve your spot!

Feedback: Really useful, insightful and thorough workshop to getting over those stage fright blues. Open, funny and exhaustive guide to gaining confidence through listening to our bodies and giving voice to words on a page.

Events are free but donations are very welcome.

All events take place at: The Art Room, Tollcross Community Centre (next to Tollcross Primary School), Fountainbridge
Free tea and coffee will be provided at all events.

WANT TO RUN YOUR OWN EVENT?
We want to hear from anyone who wants to run their own workshop, host a meeting, screen films, exhibit art, put on a play, dance, sculpt or do anything else creative in our space. No proposal is too big, too small, or too strange. For more details visit http://bit.ly/dXqlS7 or email film_at_thiscollection.org

We hope to see some of you there!

Open Source theatre needs YOU

In Uncategorized on January 16, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Open Call Interactive Theatre needs YOU


AN INTERACTIVE THEATRE WORKSHOP
AND
CALLOUT FOR COLLABORATORS

Open Source Theatre Company wants to find some new people to
discuss, play, learn, meet, act and think with.

We’re doing a project with This Collection and Tollcross Community Centre’s Adult Learning Project called “Property and Theft” this March: it’s an interactive theatre project about daily life in a decaying capitalist society. But we need some more collaborators for it

So we thought we’d run a totally open and totally free workshop in interactive theatre in order to make some new friends. We’ll talk about some of the ideas behind interactive theatre, do some exercises, play some games, run around a bit, and plant the seeds of something new.

Come along if you’re interested in collaborating, or if you’re not sure but it sounds like you might be, or if you just want to explore the ideas of interactive theatre. You won’t be making a commitment: this is a way of meeting people and sharing ideas.

It’s 5.30 – 7.30pm
in Bristo Hall
(upstairs at the Forest, 3 Bristo Place, Edinburgh)
on Tuesday 25th January

Interested e-mail Harry Giles: harry.lodestone[at]gmail.com
if you’re planning to come
or if you’re interested in the project but can’t come that day
(e-mail us anyway: we want to hear from you)
and please forward this call-out to anyone you think might be interested

Open Source Theatre is a loose collective specialising in interactive political theatre expeiments: we’ve performed at places like the Soho Theatre, London, the streets of Essex, the Byre Theatre, St Andrews, and the Forest, of course. For information about us and our projects, see our blog.

Mozilla Firefoxness

In Uncategorized on December 2, 2010 at 5:18 pm

thiscollection web snap shot


For best results please see our interactive map of poems and some of our uploaded films here with a Mozilla Firefox browser. The site was built by a host of international Msc students who learnt to code from scratch in a very short time.