LUX Scotland is proud to present the Scottish premiere of three newly commissioned artists’ films inspired by the life and work of boundary-pushing experimental filmmaker Stephen Dwoskin (1939 – 2012) as part of the Glasgow Short film Festival. Rather than films about Dwoskin these new works take creative inspiration from his work and the themes he explored throughout his life of masculinity, sexuality, disability, illness, pain/pleasure, voyeurism, movement and desire.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with artist Margaret Salmon.
The films are commissioned by LUX and the University of Reading as part of the Legacies of Stephen Dwoskin, a three-year research project supported by the AHRC.
Margaret Salmon, boy (winter), 2022. UK, 20 min
P Staff, Hevn, 2022. USA/UK, 5 min
Evan Ifekoya, Undercurrent 528, 2022. UK, 15.30 min
Stephen Dwoskin, Dear Robert, 1991. UK, 20 min
Margaret Salmon, Boy (winter), 2022
Boy (winter) is a film study, shot on 35mm film, presenting viewers with a set of encounters, celluloid descriptions and imaginative analysis of contemporary boyhood. Shot on location in Glasgow in late 2021, this is the first in a two-part series of films exploring masculinity and stages of (identifying) male physical and psychological development in Britain.
This work is in response to the expansive oeuvre of Stephen Dwoskin, in particular his early portrait films, but also follows a strand of research and enquiry which has been active in Salmon’s own feminist film practice. That is, gendered dynamics experienced within the everyday, expressed through the body and film culture.
P Staff, Hevn, 2022
P. Staff’s new single-screen work Hevn cuts together digital and analogue filmmaking techniques with poetry, hand painted animation and industrial sound. The work combines influence from Stephen Dwoskin’s exploration of pleasure and pain in the sick or debilitated body with Staff’s own video and poetry practice exploring the volatility of queer and trans bodies through dreaming, volatility, inebriation and exhaustion.
Evan Ifekoya, Undercurrent 528, 2022
Undercurrent 528 draws on Stephen Dwoskin’s complex relationship with care, desire and everyday rituals as made visible in his vast oeuvre and reorients it from Ifekoya’s perspective. A series of invitations were sent out by Ifekoya to their extended black, queer and trans community for a dancer, a drummer, a gathering around breath and breathing and a sonic response to these images. This new video work explores the relationship between documentation and liveness, opening portals of intimacy by bringing people together through different spaces and time. It is part of a series of works exploring the reparative dimension of sound and its potential as a gateway to alternate aspects of our reality.
Stephen Dwoskin, Dear Robert, 1991
One of a series of video letters Stephen Dwoskin exchanged with the filmmaker Robert Kramer in 1991, which captures his voice and thoughts in everyday life. Of the videos Dwoskin said ‘It was more like writing, in that you didn’t have to involve anyone else in it. Not including editing was again like doing a written letter – you don’t really edit your letters when you write to friends – so the idea was simply to just do whatever we could in the camera.’
Stephen Dwoskin (1939 – 2012) began his filmmaking career in the New York underground scene of the early 1960s, then moved to London in 1964, where he became a leading figure in avant-garde film, and was one of the founders of the London Filmmakers Co-operative (now LUX). Laura Mulvey wrote that he ‘opened a completely new perspective for me on cinematic voyeurism’ and his work was a major influence on her influential theories on the male gaze in cinema. From the mid-1970s, he focused his camera upon his own body, afflicted by polio during childhood, in such films as Behindert (1974) and Outside In (1981). In the 1980s and ’90s, Dwoskin turned to making personal documentaries about disability and diaspora, including Ballet Black (1986) and the autobiographical Trying to Kiss the Moon (1994). Then in the 2000s, increasingly limited in his movements, but liberated from the demands of patrons, he returned to the underground, and to his erotic obsessions, making a series of digital works culminating in The Sun and the Moon (2008), described by Raymond Bellour as an ‘absolute masterpiece’. Over the course of his half-century-long career, Dwoskin’s path crossed with those of J. G. Ballard, the Ballets Nègres, Bill Brandt, Gavin Bryars, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Ron Geesin, Yvonne Rainer, Carolee Schneemann, and Andy Warhol.
Evan Ifekoya (b. 1988 in Nigeria) lives and works in London, is an artist who through sound, text, video and performance places demands on existing systems and institutions of power, to recentre and prioritise the experience and voice of those previously marginalised. The practice considers art as a site where resources can be both redistributed and renegotiated, whilst challenging the implicit rules and hierarchies of public and social space. Through archival and sonic investigations, they speculate on blackness in abundance; the body of the ocean a watery embodied presence in the work. They established the collectively run and QTIBPOC (queer, trans*, intersex, black and people of colour) led Black Obsidian Sound System (B.O.S.S.) in 2018. In 2019, they won the Kleinwort Hambros Emerging Artists Prize and in 2017 the Arts Foundation award for Live Art sponsored by Yoma Sasberg Estate. They have presented exhibitions, performances and screenings across Europe and Internationally including: Liverpool Biennial (2020); De Appel Netherlands (2019); Gasworks London (2018) Contemporary Arts Centre New Orleans as part of Prospect 4 (2017); Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town (2016); Studio Voltaire London (2015) and Castlefield Gallery Manchester (2014)
Margaret Salmon (Born in 1975 in Suffern, New York) lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland. She creates filmic portraits that weave together poetry and ethnography. Focusing on individuals in their everyday activities, her films capture the minutiae of daily life and infuse them with gentle grandeur, touching upon universal human themes. Adapting techniques drawn from various cinematic movements, such as Cinema Vérité, the European Avant Garde and Italian Neo-Realism, Salmon’s orchestrations of sound and image introduce a formal abstraction into the tradition of realist film. Margaret Salmon won the first Max Mara Art Prize for Women in 2006. Her work was shown at the Venice Biennale in 2007 and the Berlin Biennale in 2010 and was featured in individual exhibitions at Witte de With in Rotterdam and Whitechapel Gallery in London among others.
P. Staff (b.1987, UK) is an artist who lives and works in Los Angeles, USA and London, UK. Their work combines video installation, performance and publishing, citing the ways in which history, technology, capitalism and the law have fundamentally transformed the social constitution of our bodies today. Staff’s work has been exhibited, screened and performed internationally.
The Dwoskin Archive is housed at the University of Reading and contains a wealth of material relating to Dwoskin’s life, work and the period he lived in. The Legacies of Stephen Dwoskin is a three-year AHRC-research project looking at Dwoskin’s social, political, technological and cultural influences, considering his work in relation to new scholarship in gender, disability studies and phenomenology, and digital forensics and data exploration. https://research.reading.ac.uk…