Part of Margaret Tait Commission
Andrew Black, recipient of the 2021 Margaret Tait Award Commission, presents ‘A Vision of Hell’, a contextual screening bringing together references that have shaped the development of his award commission, ‘On Clogger Lane’ (2023). The screening includes a selection of short films and mini-documentaries which touch on themes of surveillance, protest and land ownership.
Established in 2010, the Margaret Tait Award is a LUX Scotland commission delivered in partnership with Glasgow Film, supported by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland. Inspired by the pioneering Orcadian filmmaker and poet Margaret Tait (1918 – 99), the award recognises experimental and innovative artists working with the moving image, offering a unique avenue of commissioning and production support and providing a high-profile platform to exhibit newly commissioned work.
Disarming Grandmothers, Episode 2, ‘a terrorist but not a violent terrorist’, Claire Pope, 2012, 3 min 41 sec
‘The Clouds’, Patrick Keiller, 1989, 20 mins
Disarming Grandmothers, Episode 23, ‘criminally insane… ordinary people’, Claire Pope, 2012, 2 min 15 secs
‘Don’t Trust Men With Balls’, Vera Media, 1996/7, 16 mins
Disarming Grandmothers, Episode 29 ‘Nothing to do with Safety or Security’, Claire Pope, 2012, 2 mins 42 sec
Total running time: 44 mins
Andrew Black was born in Leeds and has lived in Glasgow since 2009. He was on the committee of Transmission gallery in 2016 and 2017, and in 2018 took part in the Experimental Film & Moving Image Residency at Cove Park, and the Autumn Residency at Hospitalfield. He recently completed a commission with Atlas Arts as part of the Plural Future Community Film project on the Isle of Skye, exhibited with Aman Sandhu as part of Glasgow International Festival in June 2021. Andrew’s work was recently exhibited at Centre Clark, Montreal as part of ‘The Magic Roundabout and the Naked Man’ with Aman Sandhu.
A black and white semi-narrative film, touching on moments in the narrator’s life unavailable to his recollection, and a journey through the North of England on the prevailing wind.
Over a series of industrial and rural images of Britain, a narrator tells the story of his conception and birth, weaving in a mythic history of the formation of the world and its early inhabitants.
He is conceived, and his parents move to a new town. During his mother’s pregnancy, his father’s decline and unreliability lead her to contemplate abortion, but discussing it with a cousin, she decides against it and his future is assured.
The earth forms and giants live upon it: traces of them are still visible in the industrial landscape and processes of today. The narrator is born in a city of his time, built upon geological formations but multicultural and industrial. Before he can separate himself from the world around him, he too is a giant, but grows to ponder where free will can come from, and the hidden world that lies within the visible world.
As office blocks are built opposite the school to which he will go, he tells us that he is weary of life even before having entered upon it, but that tomorrow he will go to the sea with his family.
“With its dense, poetic and philosophical text and its sequences of apparently unrelated images, The Clouds (d. Patrick Keiller, 1990) has many threads: the narrator makes parallels between his own conception and birth and the geological formation of the earth. Descriptions of geological time are echoed by images of rocks and water. Mythical giants who lived early in the earth’s history show their remains in electricity pylons that dominate the landscape; boats and bridges are the backdrop to Kathleen Ferrier’s rendition of traditional Scottish song.
Keiller’s characteristic use of shots in which the camera doesn’t move, but instead switches from one scene to another, or between different perspectives on the same scene, is reminiscent of the early British documentary tradition, of Humphrey Jennings and even Free Cinema. But Keiller has moved away from using images to narrate, using them rather to obliquely illustrate a fractured and personal text.
The Clouds is a film poem: its meanings are not exhausted in a single viewing, and one can return to it and discover new things, new connections between separate images, and between words and images. It also crystallises many of the methods of composition and narration that Keiller would use in his next, feature-length films, London (1994) and Robinson in Space (1996).”
- Danny Birchall
Patrick Keiller trained to be an architect and practised until 1979. He has been making films since 1981, including the much praised Stonebridge Park (1981), Norwood (1983) and The Clouds (1989)– described by Alexander Walker in the Evening Standard as “a metaphysical meditation of talent and control.”
Vera Media is a community learning, media production, consultancy and development organisation based at Hillside in South Leeds. They have produced over 150 films for training, promotion, campaigning, records of events and much more, specialising in work with public, third sector, charity, arts, environment, education, feminist and community organisations. Productions have been broadcast on the BBC, Al-Jazeerah and more, and won awards at festivals around the world.
‘Disarming Grandmothers’ was an organic project. It started with a camera and a newspaper article and ended 6 years later with 31 mini documentaries. It was inspired by the actions of two grandmothers who in-between taking the dog for a walk and going to Quaker meetings were laying down in front of nuclear truck convoys and boarding US Military planes. The series follows the lives of these two veteran peace campaigners during a long court case for terrorism charges after they trespassed at U.S. Spy Base Menwith Hill. The series highlights complex questions about national security and civil liberties. Each episode offers a window into Helen and Sylvia’s lives: the peace camp at Menwith Hill, their time in prison, Greenham Common and the peace movement, their relationships with their families and their relationship with each other. On the surface the series is about Helen and Sylvia’s trial for terrorism but at its core it’s about two steadfast and extremely different women, linked by their conscience to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
Claire Pope studied Television Production at Bournemouth University and was inspired by filmmakers like Molly Dineen and Nick Broomfield. She wanted to create observational films, where her involvement was limited. To capture, as much as possible, what would have naturally unfolded if she wasn’t there. For most of the time, Pope was a one woman crew, with a camera small enough to fit in her handbag, and hoped this would allow her to produce intimate yet unobtrusive films. Disarming Grandmothers captures the open and honest relationship that Pope developed with Helen and Sylvia. There was never a difference between ‘camera on’ and ‘camera off’, their lives and the filmmakers’ questions evolved just the same. ‘Disarming Grandmothers’ hopes to offer an impartial and realistic insight into the lives of two fascinating women.
The cinema is located on the ground floor of CCA, The cinema has raked seating, with removable seats for wheelchair spaces.
There is a hearing loop in the Cinema. The best area for receiving this is in the centre of the seating rows.
There are two accessible toilets on the ground floor at the back of Saramago Cafe. There are more on the first floor accessible via the lift of stairs.
For more information please visit the CCA website.
The screening is captioned. Captions by Collective Text.
Thematic content notes:
Police violence, discussion of misogyny.
Image description: A black and white film still of a huge radio telescope. The white dish is angled upwards while a geometric steel structure supports it underneath. There are some trees to the bottom of the image giving a sense of scale to the massive structure.
Closed Captions The screening is captioned. Captions by Collective Text.
Venue Access Please visit the CCA website for information on accessibility. Learn More
The Margaret Tait Commission is a LUX Scotland commission delivered in partnership with Glasgow Film, with support from Creative Scotland.