Fri 10th until Fri 31st Jul 2020, 12:30pm
Throughout July, our Summer Screenings programme will explore how artists and filmmakers have been inspired by the sea and its infinite possibilities.
Every Friday a new film, nominated by a different arts organisation each week, will be exhibited alongside some specially created content which further explores the ideas and themes in the work. Join us back here every Friday at 12:30pm to see the newest instalment.
Offshore (Gallivant) by Andrew Kötting, nominated by Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network
Starting in the pitch-black early hours of a September morning, this film follows a 14hr 17min cross-channel relay swim that the artist made with his brothers and friends. The attempt was witnessed by writer Iain Sinclair and is narrated by the artist’s daughter, Eden Kötting.
A few weeks ago, we recorded a podcast with the artist, Andrew Kötting in converstation with Philip Hoare. Click play below to hear the filmmakers discuss Andrew’s film, Offshore (Gallivant) and their shared love of the sea.
Andrew Kötting’s most recent film, The Whalebone Box will be streaming on the BFI Player at the end of July. The film follows three men on a quest to return an artwork, a box made of whalebone, to the place where the whale was beached. You can find out more about the film here and visit the BFI Player here.
Philip Hoare’s most recent project, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Big Read was curated in partnership with Sarah Chapman and Angela Cockayne and commissioned by The Arts Institute at the University of Plymouth. The project is an inclusive, immersive work of audio and visual art from the 21st century that reflects the sweeping majesty and abiding influence of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s 18th century epic poem. You can experience The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Big Read here.
Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network supports London-based artists working in moving image in all its forms.
Friday 17th – Friday 24th July
Undersea Adventure by the Shadowlight Artists Associates, presented by Film Oxford
The Shadowlight Artists are a collective of seven artists with learning disabilities based in Oxford. Undersea Adventure is an animated film in which the artists travel to the bottom of the ocean in a submarine seeking lost treasure.
Film Oxford is a film & creative arts charity which has been providing training and activities for over 30 years.
Friday 24th – Friday 31st July
Looking for Looking for Langston by Adam Patterson, nominated by Live Art Development Agency
A captain dreams of setting sail in search of an intangible but comforting vision that rests at the edge of the horizon. An exploration of desire, distance, secrets and surprise, Looking for Looking for Langston is a cruise of poetic correspondence, queering sailors and transgressing horizons.
Live Art Development Agency supports contemporary culture’s most radical artists, practices and ideas.
Bivalvia: Act 1 by Yu Araki, nominated by videoclub
Mixing fact and fiction, Yu Araki explores the culture, structure, stories and symbolism associated with European flat oyster shells that he first discovered whilst walking along a beach in the Galician region of Spain.
We caught up with Yu Araki last week to find out more about Bivalvia: Act 1 and what the artist is currently working on. You can read the interview below:
Tell us a bit about your film, Bivalvia: Act 1
Sure. Bivalvia is an ongoing project, started in 2017 that deals with my personal confrontation with death and vanitas told via the perspective of oysters. Bivalvia: Act I is an unscripted, patchworked narrative exploring the universal question of loss and how to cope with it. The film combines a real-life story about a young couple who committed double-suicide in the sea between Japan and Korea in 1926, the legend of St. Jacob, French phonetics lesson, and various representations of oysters, a symbol for vanitas. Utilizing the aesthetics of Karaoke subtitles, which literally means “kara (emptiness)” + “oke (orchestra)” in Japanese, while “kara” is also synonymous with “shells”. I was particularly interested in the idea of a song being covered as a way of rebirth in different times and place, analogous to reincarnation. Moreover, the Chinese character for ‘song (唄)’ is a combination of the symbol for ‘mouth (口)’ and ‘shellfish (貝).’ That’s it, more or less, in a (nut)shell.
We’re showing Bivalvia: Act 1 as part of our GHT Beside the Sea: Summer Screenings programme, which explores how artists, filmmakers and amateur movie-makers have responded to the sea and its infinite possibilities. In your opinion, what is it about the sea that is so alluring?
The sea has been a recurring motif in my work, and that may be related to the fact that I live on an island nation. And also, one of my earliest memories is looking down at the vast Pacific Ocean from an airplane window. I was 3 years old and it was on my way to the U.S. with my family, and I just remember looking out at it for a very long time. I think what attracts me most is that there are still so many elements of the unknown in the sea. It’s as mysterious as outer space, even though it’s relatively close to us in proximity. It is sublime, but can also be dangerous. It must be those complex feelings I have about the sea that I’m really drawn to.
When I conceived of the Bivalvia Project, I was doing a residency in South Korea, the closest country to Japan. During the course of my stay, I decided to take a ferry between Busan and Hakata, wanting to get a better understanding of the distance between the two ports. It felt close, but at the same time very far, and it made me think a lot about migration and traveling in the pre-aeroplane era. The sea gives you an illusion that the world is connected, but it is also what separates people, and vice versa.
What are you working on at the moment?
I recently got a grant from Arts Commission Yokohama, so I’ll be developing sequels to Bivalvia, which is very exciting as I originally planned it to be in 5 acts. However, the project itself is quite open-ended and it could go in various directions and forms. I also like the fact that I can develop this project practically anywhere in the world, as long as there is seawater, since there will always be some sort of bivalve. Aside from that, I’m keeping myself busy juggling several projects, one of which involves exploring 16mm celluloid film.
How has the global Coronavirus pandemic effected your work and your artistic practice?
It hasn’t quite yet affected the content per se, but it certainly has affected the way I work. It’s gotten really difficult to form a film crew or to physically meet and collaborate with others in general. Plus it’s hard to make plans these days since the situation could get worse and we have to adapt accordingly. Traveling has become a challenge too, which is a pity but I suppose I have to be in my shell for the time being.
Bivalvia: Act 1 was nominated by videoclub, a platform for contemporary artists’ film, video and moving image based in Brighton.
Moritz Cheung, the curator at videoclub sent us the following statement about why he nominated Yu’s film:
“Bivalvia: Act 1 by Yu Araki was selected in reflection upon the significant history of God’s House Tower and Southampton as a port city. Inspired by the culinary obsession with oysters in the west, Araki’s film explores notions of emptiness and death through the metaphor of this famous mollusc, alongside which is told the tragic love story of a couple in Asia. In addition to the film’s references to oysters and the sea, the showing of the work at GHT provides a new context to reconsider the impact the sea has had and continues to have on our everyday culture, language and habits.”