Thursday, 4 February 2010


Alan Courtis & Aaron Moore, and No Deposit No Return Blues - A documentary of Sandy Bull by his daughter KC Bull
Wed 10th Feb 8pm £3 Tickets available from wegottickets.com

Following their appearance in The Wire's and other 2009 end-of-year polls for their 'Brokebox Juke' lp, Courtis/Moore return to the UK to perform live improvised soundtracks to this Argentine found-film collage.

The film compiles a selection of Argentine home movies mainly from the 1970’s. The footage was originally recorded in Super-8 and now transferred to digital to be screened in public. The compilation shows diverse aspects of daily life in diverse Argentine cities and rural scenes, bringing a portrait of Argentinian collective memory from those years, to the sound of the drone, abstract psychedelia and free rock improvisation of Alan Courtis and Aaron Moore.

Moore has also of late been touring in his band with NoNeck Blues Band's Dave Nuss, Amolvacy, and has just completed 4 performances in New York as part of Boredoms for their Boadrum9 shows. And of course, he's an integral member of the increasingly seminal Volcano The Bear, who have, in the words of The Wire, "produced some of the finest, wildest British music of the last 10 years on record and on stage…”. Or, as Losing Today puts it, “No one sounds, has sounded or will ever sound quite like Volcano the Bear.”

We're also gonna be giving people a second chance to see the incredible film by KC Bull about her father, the late, great, still (insanely) largely undiscovered guitar/oud player Sandy Bull - No Deposit, No Return Blues. KC came to Salford to show the film last July and it was a beautiful, intimate portrait of a clearly dearly loved Dad as well as one of the world's most respected "guitar players". Sandy pioneered the use of eastern instruments within the 'rock' framework as well as being one of the earliest exponents of guitar ragas. If you dig the playing of John Fahey, the very recently departed Jack Rose, Matt Valentine, Robbie Basho or Richard Bishop, you'll have your mind blown by Sandy Bull. As rare as original footage of Sandy is, KC has managed to source it and it's a total treat to see, whether you already know and love his work or are being exposed to it for the first time.


LIMELIGHT CLUB, Multiscreen Show

Artists: The Duvet Brothers. 20 mins, 1986 / 2008
“We toured a live multi-screen show for 3 years. We played out from three sources into as many TVs as we could get; minimum 9, maximum 25 but usually 18 or 21. They were built in an architectural shape on a scaffold structure. Multi-Screen installation on this scale had only really happened previously in the art world.

This show was performed to a packed Limelight club in London, mainly full of suited execs from the TV Commercials and Music industry that came to see what all the scratch video fuss was about. It is significant in that it demonstrated the crossover of the Duvet Brother’s style to the commercial world.

This show includes specifically made for multi-screen pieces like ‘Horses’ and ‘Strickly Trigalig’ which was a commission from London Video Arts to create a nine screen installation in their windows. The hand-held cameras and fast cut music promos, shot on Super-8 film were also just starting to have an influence. Now, of course, this style is part of the common language of contemporary television and movies.” Rik Lander and Peter Boyd MacLean, 20


George Barber, declared the ‘Henry Ford of independent video’, studied conceptual sculpture at St Martin's School of Art and The Slade School of Fine Art. His video release entitled 'THE GREATEST HITS OF SCRATCH VIDEO' became internationally known in the late 80's and was featured on television right across the world and similarly in many magazines, including The Face, The Independent and Sunday Times. Barber has also had work shown in a variety of high profile venues such as The Tate Britain, ICA, the Museum of Modern Art, Barcelona, The World Wide Video Festival, Holland, The Kitchen, New York and Pompidou Centre, Paris.

The Duvet Brothers are Peter Boyd MacLean and Rik Lander. Lander and MacLean met at The Colchester Film Workshop and began collaborating in 1983.Thier most well known work is ‘Blue Monday’ 1984. The piece was screened on Channel 4 in 1985 and featured on George Barber’s compilation ‘The Greatest Hits of Scratch Video Volume 1’.Both Rik Lander and Peter Boyd MacLean currently work as directors. Lander has worked for Channel 4, covering events such as the Turner Prize and Boyd MacLean has directed animation pieces including ‘Crapston Villas’ and ‘Greaseland’.

John Scarlett-Davis was born in 1950. He studied Geology at University of Swansea, and then at Goldsmiths College of Art, London. He worked as an editor and assistant director for Derek Jarman, including Jarman's first music video, and was a prolific tape maker in the early 80s, importing the tempo of Scratch video into his art pieces. Following a successful career in music videos and commercials, he now lives in Cornwall, exhibits photographs, and is writing a novel.

John Maybury was born in 1958. He studied at North East London Polytechnic, and designed sets for Derek Jarman's Jubilee, and worked with him on The Last of England and The Tempest. Initially associated with Super8 filmmaking, his mastery of video technology was quickly evident in a series of music videos and long-works for television such as Remembrance of Things Fast 1993. Following the success of his fictionalised life of Francis Bacon Love is The Devil 1998; he is now working on feature films.
Gorilla Tapes was founded in Luton by artists Jon Dovey, Gavin Hodge and Tim Morrison. They made an immediate impact with their sharp political tapes, collaged from old film footage and the TV news imagery of the mid-Thatcher years. Gorilla Tapes have exhibited internationally in solo and group exhibitions. Highlights include participation in Tate Britains ‘A Century of Artists Films’ in 2003.They are currently working separately in academia and documentary filmmaking.

Born in Essex, England in 1952, Chris Meigh-Andrews then lived in Montreal, Canada. Working with video in a fine art context since 1977, his single channel video tapes have been screened in the UK, Europe, North & South America, Australia and Japan. Establishing an artist's post-production facility and independent video production company, he worked as a freelance director and cameraman, video editor, and animator to fund his own experimental video work throughout the 1980's. An active member of London Video Arts, he was chairman of the Council of Management from 87-89.

Nick Cope has worked in film and video production collaborating with Cabaret Voltaire, the Butthole Surfers, O Yuki Conjugate and Electribe 101 amongst others. His practice is informed by the canon of experimental and avant-garde film and video practice from early last century to the present. He currently works as Senior Lecturer in Video and New Media Production at the University of Sunderland.

Holger Hiller is a musician who studied art in Hamburg, where he met Walter Thielsch and Thomas Fehlmann and recorded his first works with them. With Fehlmann he later founded the band Palais Schaumburg in 1980. At the same time his solo career began. Hiller was one of the first musicians in Europe to use the sampler as his main or sole instrument. From 1984 on he lived in London, eventually working as producer for Mute Records. In 1988 he recorded "Ohi Ho Bang Bang" with Akiko Hada, a Japanese experimental video artist and photographer based in Berlin, Germany.

Sandra Goldbacher and Kim Flitcroft began showing their re-cut versions of television commercials and Hollywood films on old TV sets at the Fridge Club in Brixton in 1984. Flitcroft went on to make mainly documentaries, among the most recent of which is ‘Cutting Edge: Girls Αlone and Boys Alone’ and ‘Guyana, Trouble in Paradise’, a short series about the role of a third-world government. Goldbacher directed many major commercials for Absolute Vodka, The Observer, Philips, Evian, Wella, Johnny Walker and Baileys. She also directed various arts documentaries for the BBC series 'Building Sights' and two documentaries on the world of boxing for Channel Four. She wrote and directed her first feature film The Governess in 1998. For that film she was nominated for a BAFTA for best newcomer and won a Hitchcock Award at the Dinard British Film Festival.

Jeffrey Hinton has been cited as being largely responsible for the ‘trash’ aesthetic attached to the infamous Taboo nightclub in London. An associate of Taboo founder, Leigh Bowery, Hinton used cut-ups of Blondie videos, gay pornography and Bollywood films, which were projected onto the dance floor. Hinton went on to have a successful career as a DJ, although little is known about his career as a video artist after the 1980s.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010


"Cut-ups are for everyone. Anybody can make cut-ups. It is experimental in the sense of being something to do. Right here write now. Not something to talk and argue about. Greek philosophers assumed logically that an object twice as heavy as another object would fall twice as fast. It did not occur to them to push the two objects off the table and see how they fall. Shakespeare Rimbaud live in their words. Cut the word lines and you will hear their voices. Cut- ups often come through as code messages with special meaning for the cutter. Table tapping? Perhaps. Certainly an improvement on the usual deplorable performances of contacted poets through a medium. Rimbaud announces himself, to be followed by some excruciatingly bad poetry. Cut Rimbaud's words and you are assured of good poetry at least if not personal appearance.

"All writing is in fact cut-ups. A collage of words read heard overheard. What else? Use of scissors renders the process explicit and subject to extension and variation. Clear classical prose can be composed entirely of rearranged cut-ups. Cutting and rearranging a page of written words introduces a new dimension into writing enabling the writer to turn images in cinematic variation. Images shift sense under the scissors smell images to sound sight to sound to kinesthetic. This is where Rimbaud was going with his color of vowels. And his "systematic derangement of the senses." The place of mescaline hallucination: seeing colors tasting sounds smelling forms.

"The cut-ups can be applied to other fields than writing. Dr Neumann in his Theory of Games and Economic behavior introduces the cut-up method of random action into game and military strategy: assume that the worst has happened and act accordingly. If your strategy is at some point determined . . . by random factor your opponent will gain no advantage from knowing your strategy since he cannot predict the move. The cut-up method could be used to advantage in processing scientific data. How many discoveries have been made by accident? We cannot produce accidents to order. The cut-ups could add new dimension to films. Cut gambling scene in with a thousand gambling scenes all times and places. Cut back. Cut streets of the world. Cut and rearrange the word and image in films. There is no reason to accept a second-rate product when you can have the best. And the best is there for all. Poetry is for everyone . . ." From Jenny Skerl's William Burroughs

Burroughs discovered the cutup in 1959 in Paris through his friend Brion Gysin , a painter. When Gysin began experimenting with cutups in his own work, Burroughs immediately saw the similarity to the juxtaposition technique he had used in Naked Lunch and began extensive experiments with text, often with the collaboration of other writers. (Although Burroughs has credited Gysin with discovering the cutup, he has also acknowledged similar literary experiments in the works of Tzara, Stein, Eliot, and Dos Passos.) In 1960 Burroughs published his initial cutup experiments in Paris in Minutes To Go (with Brion Gysin, Sinclair Beiles, and Gregory Corso) and in San Francisco in The Exterminator (with Brion Gysin), works that were partially intended to introduce the technique to the public. Throughout the 1960s Burroughs and Gysin collaborated on cutup experiments in many media, the most significant collaborations being three films done in 1965 with English film maker Antony Balch (Towers Open Fire, Cut-Ups, and Bill and Tony) and The Third Mind, a book first completed in 1965 but not published in English until 1978. The final version of The Third Mind is both a historical collection of cutup experiments from 1960 to 1978 and a manifesto that sums up the cutup's significance for Burroughs and Gysin.

Burroughs with his cut-ups
The cutup is a mechanical method of juxtaposition in which Burroughs literally cuts up passages of prose by himself and other writers and then pastes them back together at random. This literary version of the collage technique is also supplemented by literary use of other media. Burroughs transcribes taped cutups (several tapes spliced into each other), film cutups (montage), and mixed media experiments (results of combining tapes with television, movies, or actual events). Thus Burroughs's use of cutups develops his juxtaposition technique to its logical conclusion as an experimental prose method, and he also makes use of all contemporary media, expanding his use of popular culture.

Read more at: http://languageisavirus.com/articles/articles.php?subaction=showcomments&id=1099111044&archive=&start_from=&ucat

Reference Books for Project




"Of the 47 minutes of film exposed in 1895, the world's archives presently hold about 42. But of the work from 1896 to about 1915, a tiny fraction remains. In those years the feature film was born, and we have reports of extraordinary experiments with colour, sound and widescreen as well as revered performers and artists captured on film but now lost.

The arrival of the video-portapak in 1968 was as essential a moment of cultural history. The early days of a new medium are always immensely fertile, since no-one knows what they are supposed to do with it, so that pioneers feel free to try everything. Those experiments can be immensely fruitful for new makers" - Sean Cubitt

REWIND is a research project that will provide a research resource that addresses the gap in historical knowledge of the evolution of electronic media arts in the UK, by investigating specifically the first two decades of artists’ works in video. There was a danger that many of these works might disappear because of their ephemeral nature and poor technical condition. The project will conserve and preserve them, and enable further scholarly activity.

We are re-mastering and archiving both single screen and installation work on Digital Betacam. These new masters are deposited at the University of Dundee and the Scottish Screen Archive. From the masters DVD viewing copies form the basis of the REWIND | Artists’ Video Collection, for curatorial, scholarly and public access at the Visual Research Centre, Dundee Contemporary Arts and CARTE in central London.

More on Scratch Video & Film

Scratch Video was a British video art movement that emerged in the 1980s. It was characterised by the use of found footage and challenged many of the established conventions of broadcast television. Arising out of a turbulent decade that saw amongst other things the miners take on the Thatcher government of the day, Scratch was an appropriate and accessible visual expression for dealing critically and directly with the impact of mass communications on society. These videos tended to critique the institutions making broadcast videos, specifically those commercialised for young audiences, such as MTV.

Today Scratch Video continues to be a popular historical form, maintaining a cult following in contemporary art video circles. For these screenings, Street Level have teamed up with Rewind to bring to Glasgow a selection of some of the groundbreaking works in this genre, including the Gorilla Tapes, the Duvet Brothers and George Barber. Other artists include John Maybury, Kim Flitcroft & Sandra Goldbacher, Jeffrey Hinton, John Scarlett-Davis, Akiko Hada & Holger Hiller, Chris Meigh-Andrews, Nick Cope.

Throughout the 80s various venues across London screened Scratch videos, including the Ambulance Station, the Fridge nightclub and the Brixton Ritzy Cinema, which housed a large amount of recycled colour televisions. These screening were also an opportunity to significantly distribute works on VHS tapes. Scratch in many ways set the ground for the later manifestation of V-J’s.

Scratch Video is one of a number of collaborations between Street Level Photoworks and Rewind.


Monday, 1 February 2010

William Burroughs'

William Seward Burroughs II (February 5, 1914 – August 2, 1997; pronounced /ˈbʌroʊz/) was an American novelist, essayist, social critic, painter and spoken word performer. Much of Burroughs's work is semi-autobiographical, drawn from his experiences as an opiate addict, a condition that marked the last fifty years of his life. A primary member of the Beat Generation, he was an avant-garde author who affected popular culture as well as literature. In 1975, he was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

Burroughs was born in 1914, the younger of two sons born to Mortimer P. Burroughs (June 16, 1885–January 5, 1965) and Laura Hammon Lee (August 5, 1888–October 20, 1970). The Burroughs were a prominent family in St. Louis, Missouri. His grandfather, William Seward Burroughs I, founded the Burroughs Adding Machine company, which evolved into the Burroughs Corporation. Burroughs' mother, Laura Hammon Lee, was the daughter of a minister whose family claimed to be related to Robert E. Lee. His maternal uncle, Ivy Lee, was an advertising pioneer later employed as a publicist for the Rockefellers. His father, Mortimer Perry Burroughs, ran an antique and gift shop, Cobblestone Gardens; first in St. Louis, then in Palm Beach, Florida.

As a boy, Burroughs lived on Pershing Ave. in St. Louis's Central West End. He attended John Burroughs School in St. Louis where his first published essay, "Personal Magnetism," was printed in the John Burroughs Review in 1929. He then attended The Los Alamos Ranch School in New Mexico, which was stressful for him. The school was a boarding school for the wealthy, "where the spindly sons of the rich could be transformed into manly specimens." Burroughs kept journals documenting an erotic attachment to another boy. According to his own account, he destroyed these later, ashamed of their content. Due to the repressive context where he grew up, and from which he fled, that is, a "family where displays of affection were considered embarrassing," he kept his sexual orientation concealed well into adulthood when, ironically, he became a well known homosexual writer after the publication of Naked Lunch in 1959. Some say that he was expelled from Los Alamos after taking chloral hydrate in Santa Fe with a fellow student. Yet, according to his own account, he left voluntarily: "During the Easter vacation of my second year I persuaded my family to let me stay in St. Louis."

In film and television
Burroughs played Opium Jones in the 1966 Conrad Rooks cult film Chappaqua, which also featured cameo roles by Allen Ginsberg, Moondog, and others. In 1968, an abbreviated 77 minutes as opposed to the original's 104 minutes version of Benjamin Christensen's 1922 film Häxan was released, subtitled Witchcraft Through The Ages. This version, produced by Anthony Balch, featured an eclectic jazz score by Daniel Humair and narration by Burroughs. He also appeared in a number of short films in the 1960s directed by Balch.

Burroughs narrated part of the 1980 documentary Shamans of the Blind Country by anthropologist and filmmaker Michael Oppitz. He gave a reading on Saturday Night Live on 7 November 1981, in an episode hosted by Lauren Hutton.
Burroughs subsequently made cameo appearances in a number of other films and videos, such as David Blair's Wax: or the Discovery of Television among the Bees, in which he plays a beekeeper, in an elliptic story about the first Gulf War, and Decoder by Klaus Maeck. He played an aging junkie priest in Gus Van Sant's 1989 film Drugstore Cowboy. He also appears briefly at the beginning of Van Sant's Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (based on the Tom Robbins novel), in which he is seen crossing a city street; as the noise of the city rises around him he pauses in the middle of the intersection and speaks the single word "ominous". Van Sant's short film "Thanksgiving Prayer" features Burroughs reading the poem "Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 1986," from Tornado Alley, intercut with a collage of black and white images.
A documentary titled Burroughs, directed by Howard Brookner, was released in 1984. It included footage of Burroughs and many of his friends and colleagues.

Near the end of his life, recordings of Burroughs reading his short stories "A Junky's Christmas" and "Ah Pook is Here" were used to great effect on the soundtracks of two highly acclaimed animated film adaptations.

As a fictional character
Burroughs was fictionalized in Jack Kerouac's autobiographical novel On the Road as "Old Bull Lee". In the 2004 novel Move Under Ground, Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and Kerouac team up to defeat Cthulhu.
Burroughs appears in the first part of The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson during the 1968 Democratic Convention riots and is described as a person devoid of anger, passion, indignation, hope, or any other recognizable human emotion. He is presented as a polar opposite of Allen Ginsberg, as Ginsberg believed in everything and Burroughs believed in nothing. Robert Anton Wilson would recount in his Cosmic Trigger Vol II his having interviewed both Burroughs and Ginsberg for Playboy the day the riots began as well as his experiences with Robert Shea during the riots, providing some detail on the creation of the fictional sequence.

Band names
Many musical aggregations have found their names in Burroughs's work. The most widely known of these is Steely Dan, a group named after a dildo in Naked Lunch. Also from Naked Lunch came the name The Mugwumps. British band Soft Machine took its moniker from a Burroughs novel of the same name, as did the Protopunk band Dead Fingers Talk, from Hull, England; their only album was titled Storm the Reality Studios, after a quote from Nova Express. Alt-country band Clem Snide is named for a Burroughs character. Thin White Rope took their name for Burroughs's euphemism for ejaculation. The American extreme metal band Success Will Write Apocalypse Across the Sky took their name from the 1989 text "Apocalypse", in which Burroughs describes "art and creative expression taking a literal and physical form.

Scratch Video

Scratch video was a British video art movement that emerged in the early-mid 1980s. It was characterised by the use of found footage, fast-cutting and multi-layered rhythms. It is significant in that, as a form of outsider art, it challenged many of the establishment assumptions of broadcast TV - as well of those of gallery-bound video art.
Scratch video arose in opposition to broadcast TV, as (anti-)artists attempted to deal critically and directly with the impact of mass communications. The context these videos emerged in is important, as it tended to critique of the institutions making broadcast videos and the commercialism found on “youth” TV, especially MTV. This it did in form, content and in its mode of distribution.
Much of the work was politically radical, often containing images of a sexual or violent nature, and using images appropriated from mainstream media, including corporate advertising; using strategies inspired by the Situationist concept of detournement and William Burroughs’ theories of Electronic Revolution.

follow: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scratch_Video for further reading

Also the work of Adam Curtis at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/2009/06/it_felt_like_a_kiss_trail_3.html