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Troubling the Image (15*)

Splash, Scratch, Dunk! Films Made by Hand

handmade film of a girl in the sea

This programme assembles examples of handmade films where photographed footage – mainly found footage – is overpainted, scratched or scraped by the artist.

The disruptions the artists make to the image are to a variety of ends. Jennifer West’s film references and appropriates a cinematic icon – Michelangelo Antonioni’s Red Desert – and leaves it scarred from dragging a 35mm print across the pink beach in Sardinia where it was filmed.

Other works are more explicitly ideological and focus on social and political concerns. Sometimes the intent is to turn existing images from their original purpose, in the spirit of graffiti. Cathy Joritz takes aim at male authority, scratching a pig's ears and snout on the male talking head in an educational film.

Sometimes, the artist’s graphic interventions serve to electrify and make strange. In her film about institutionalised racism, Kelly Gallagher’s marks – made by Sharpies and glitter nail polish – have just this effect on archive documentary footage. 

Total run time: 70 min approx

Please note: this programme contains flashing light and is not suitable for people with certain types of epilepsy. 

Barbican Cinema has been supported by the Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas in England which is administered by the BFI, as part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund supporting arts and cultural organisations in England affected by the impact of Covid-19. #HereForCulture.

The words 'Here for Culture' in caps, with an outline of a square, corner point roughly north-facing, that ends once it meets the writing
The b&w logo for the BFI Film Audience Network


Scratch Pad (US 1960 Dir Hy Hirsch 10 min 16mm sound) 

Aleph (US 1956-66 Dir Wallace Berman 8 min digital silent) 

Pink Beach, Red Desert Dream Sand Film (US 2017 Dir Jennifer West 3 min digital sound) 

Girl from Moush (Canada 1993 Dir Garine Torossian 6 min 16mm sound)

Negative Man (Germany 1985 Dir Cathy Joritz 3 min 16mm sound)

Skelehellevision (US 2002 Dir Martha Colburn 8 min digital sound) 

Handtinting (Canada 1967 Dir Joyce Wieland 6 min 16mm silent)

An Ecstatic Experience (US 2015 Dir Ja'Tovia Gary 6 min digital sound) 

Stakes (Russia 1999 Dir Boris Kazakov 8 min digital sound) 

Pen Up the Pigs (US 2014 Dir Kelly Gallagher 12 min digital sound) 

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