Tina Fiske on Mark Lyken | Writing Highlight

Part of ONE WORK

Two white people sit beside one another in a cinema, looking up at the screen. On the left handmade a man wears a dark hat and a white t-shirt, his hand brushing the neck of his top. On the right, a woman with blonde straight hair with a fringe gazes upwards.
Mark Lyken, '1300 SHOTS', 2020. Courtesy of the artist.

We’re looking back at the written responses to our ONE WORK series, this month we’re highlighting Tina Fiskes response to Mark Lykens 1300 SHOTS’ (2020). Mark took part in a ONE WORK event with us in June 2021, presenting and discussing his work 1300 SHOTS’, a single-take portrait film that returns two ex-patrons of Dundee cinema​‘The Steps’ to their favourite seats, 20 years after the cinema was decommissioned, to observe them watching one last film.

In her response, Tina Fiske explores what is and is not disclosed in​‘1300 SHOTS’. Situating the work within Lyken’s practice, drawing on methods used in Lyken’s​‘Taifeng and the Motorway Saint’ (2018), Fiske contextualises the film within a lineage of filmmaking strategies by filmmakers such as Andy Warhol or James Benning.

A momentary shuffling and taking of seats in the dark – the sound of the screen extending – a low expansive soundtrack commences. Mark Lyken’s 1300 SHOTS begins with no particular scene setting, nor any establishing shots. Instead an exhale and a brief whisper prime us that this is a cinema, that a film has begun. A man and a woman flicker into view – seated side by side in green fabric chairs, facing the camera, which sits between them and the screen they are watching. Their eyes cast upwards, tracking the film action, which in turn throws illumination onto them.

–Tina Fiske on Mark Lyken’s 1300 SHOTS’

Follow the link below to read or listen to Tina read the text.

Mark Lyken recently finished his new film HOUSE OF GLOSS’ (2024), an intimate and affectionate portrait of a queer trans femme couple — Opal, a drag queen, and Lana, a DJ & graffiti writer — as they live out their dreams and desires in downtown Dundee.

Part of ONE WORK

ONE WORK is a series of online events that focus closely on a single work. These generous discussions provide an opportunity for an artist to present a recent work and talk through how the work came into being. Each work is available as a month-long online screening, followed by a specially commissioned written response that serves as documentation of both the work and the discussion.

Learn more