Skip to main content

Luke Fowler - The Poor Stockinger, the Luddite Cropper and the Deluded Followers of Joanna Southcott

Scottish National National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh until November
2nd
Four stars
Luke Fowler's ongoing fascination with icons of radical thought has
extended from film-works on punk band The Homosexuals and composer
Cornelius Cardew to his Turner nominated dissection of
anti-psychiatrist RD Laing. Each of these has cut-and-pasted
sound-and-vision collages of archive footage and newly filmed work to
create a set of suitably world-turned-upside-down narratives. Like
them, this 2012 study of Marxist historian and CND activist E.P.
Thompson's involvement with the Workers Educational Movement is both an
impressionistic portrait of its subject as well as a timely reminder of
a vital figure all but airbrushed out of official history.

For this sixty-one minute piece originally commissioned by the
Hepworth, Wakefield, Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Film and Video
Umbrella, and now shown in Scotland for the first time as part of
GENERATION, Fowler slows things down to play with form even more. As
Cerith Wyn Evans intones Thompson's grimly poetic litanies over images
of red-brick Yorkshire towns that move between the black-and-white
bustle of the past and the barren back-streets and To Let signs of
today, the film becomes both oral history project and living newspaper,
complete with Brechtian captions and reflections of Fowler in assorted
windows. As a conduit for working class autodidacts, the WEA has vital
umbilical links with the free university movement and today's
autonomous zones. The Great Learning goes on.

The List, July 2014


ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Honourable K.W. Harman: Ltd Ink Corporation

31 Bath Road, Leith Docks, March 17th-20th

In a monumental shipping container down by Leith Docks, a Sex Pistols tribute band is playing Anarchy in the U.K.. on a stage set up in the middle of the room. Either side, various constructions have been built in such a way so viewers can window shop as they promenade from one end of the room to the next, with the holy grail of a bar at either end.

Inbetween, there’s a confession booth and a mock-up of a private detective’s office with assorted documentation of real-life surveillance pinned to the walls. Two people seem to be having a conversation in public as if they're on a chat show. An assault course of smashed windows are perched on the floor like collateral damage of post-chucking out time target practice. A display of distinctively lettered signs originally created by a homeless man in search of a bed for the night are clumped together on placards that seem to be marking out territory or else finding comfort in being together. Opp…

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Scot:Lands 2017

Edinburgh's Hogmanay
Four stars

A sense of place is everything in Scot:Lands. Half the experience of Edinburgh's Hogmanay's now annual tour of the country's diverse array of cultures seen over nine bespoke stages in one global village is the physical journey itself. Scot:Lands too is about how that sense of place interacts with the people who are inspired inspired by that place.

So it was in Nether:Land, where you could see the day in at the Scottish Storytelling Centre with a mixed bag of traditional storytellers and contemporary performance poets such as Jenny Lindsay. The queues beside the Centre's cafe were further enlivened by the gentlest of ceilidhs was ushered in by Mairi Campbell and her band.

For Wig:Land, the grandiloquence of the little seen Signet Library in Parliament Square was transformed into a mini version of the Wigtown Book Festival. While upstairs provided a pop-up performance space where writers including Jessica Fox and Debi Gliori read eithe…