Historical value of film at its best

The fascination with trains on screen is as old as cinema from the Lumiere brothers to our very own Geoffrey Jones and his work for British Transport Films in the 60s and 70s. This time, however, we are more focused on the experience of travelling than the locomotive itself…

Robert Davies spent 86 days of shooting and who knows how many days in the edit suite to create the spectacular over 2 hours long Of Time and the Railway. He talks about the process and the meaning of the film as he looks through the window onto the very same landscape that is the protagonist of the film.

Of Time and the Railway takes the viewer on a train journey from Birmingham to Aberystwyth. However, it is not the usual journey that we could experience as passengers. Not only because it is shot from the front, from the driver’s point of view – ‘a view that most of us can never have’ as Davies points out – but because during this ‘single’ journey seasons change. Magical and utterly cinematic, using the advantages of the art of film to its fullest, this moving image work will be projected onto a space wider than 7 meters at the premiere in Aberystwyth Arts Centre tomorrow, on 24th of March.

Davies sees the film most of all as ‘a snapshot of now‘, taken over the period of a year and half. In addition to offering a transient audiovisual experience, the camera has documented buildings, cars and of course the landcsape giving the piece considerable historical value. The artist concludes, that Of Time and the Railway is about the passage of time – and the journey reflects his own life experience with geographical relevance. How? Find out in the video by Culture Colony below.


Text by Kati Jägel


What was the ‘last book to be banned in the UK’ and what else could we learn?

Artplayer would like to draw everybody’s attention to a fascinating documentary being made later this year by one of our channel holders. With your help, hopefully.

The Exhibition Centre for the Life and Use of Books are collaborating with filmmaker Clara Casian to produce an experimental documentary exploring the history of alternative publishing in Manchester. They have launched a Kickstarter crowd funding campaign towards the research and production costs of the film. Please watch the campaign video and join the quest!
This new film will trace a recent history of experimental publishing in Manchester and the UK via the history of Savoy Books. Savoy Books are an independent publishing house based above a locksmith shop in the South Manchester district of Didsbury, founded and run by Michael Butterworth and David Britton. In 1989 they published Lord Horror, the last book to be banned in the UK under the 1959 Obscene Publications Act; in part a response to Britton’s time spent in Strangeways prison, and Savoy’s constant persecution by the corrupt Police force at the time.

An experimental and innovative approach to storytelling will utilise previously unseen footage dating from the 1980’s and 1990’s, featuring visual records from Alan Moore, Michael Moorcock, John Coulthart, Michael Butterworth along with found and archival footage sourced from the BBC and Northern film archive.

The film will also necessarily approach censorship debates, considering the cultural and political context of the sensationalism around obscenity trials. There are a range of exciting one-off rewards for donating including original limited run screen-prints, early Corridor publications, Savoy titles and t-shirts. Special rewards packages to arts organizations!


Text by Kati Jägel

Study abroad with Erasmus: International Masters in Media Arts Cultures CALL FOR APPLICATIONS – opens October 15, 2014

A wonderful opportunity has risen for everybody interested in doing a Masters degree in arts and media! (And if you have not thought about it before then maybe the following will change your mind!).

The call for applications for the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master of Arts Degree in Media Arts Cultures, organized jointly by Danube University Krems (Austria), Aalborg University (Denmark), University of Lodz (Poland) and City University of Hong Kong (China) opens on 15th October 2014.

Associated partners: Ars Electronica, DAM, FACT, Laboratory of Research in Art and Techno Science, monochrom, transmediale, ZKM

This is a new masters of arts program funded by the European Union and recognized as a European Master of Excellence. This distinction is based on offering high-quality learning opportunities for students in an emerging field and also signifies the importance of Media Arts for the cultural future of Europe.

The objective of this Master Program is to provide education and training for future specialists in Media Arts Cultures and prepare them for emerging careers in the creative and cultural sectors, research and academia.

Students from European or non-European countries will study as a group and in individually chosen modules on selected topics like Media Cultural Heritage, Archiving, Experience Design, Media Arts Theory, New Media Aesthetics, Curating & Arts Management, or Media Arts Futures. The language of instruction is English. As part of the program, students will complete an internship at one of the consortium’s full or associated partners and complete a master’s thesis supervised by lecturers from the partner universities. MediaAC faculty include: Ana PERAICA, Christiane PAUL, Erkki HUHTAMO, Falk HEINRICH, Harald KRAEMER, Irina ARISTARKHOVA, Jane PROPHET, Jeffrey SHAW, Lev MANOVICH, Maciej OZÓG, Margit ROSEN, Morten SONDERGAARD, Oliver GRAU, Ryszard W. KLUSZCZYZSKI, Sean CUBITT, and Wendy COONES, et.al.. www.mediaartscultures.eu

Media Arts Cultures is a mobility program, enabling students to study
across Europe and in Asia. During the two-year program, each student
will spend three semesters at least three universities, and choose among
the four in the final semester. After completing the program, students
will receive a joint master degree in Media Arts Cultures from the
universities they have attended. The program is 120 ECTS and allows
graduates to further pursue a PhD within Europe or other international
higher education regions.

More than 13 of the best EU and non-EU candidates will be offered Erasmus+ fully-funded scholarships for the duration of the program. As an internationally recognized Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree, students accepted into the MediaAC program without Erasmus+ scholarships will have increased chances of securing funding from external-funding


For applicants requesting an Erasmus+ scholarship via the MediaAC Consortium the deadline for submitting applications is January 1, 2015.
For self-funded / external-funded applicants the deadline for submitting applications is April 2015 for non-EU students and June 2015 for EU students.


For more information on the program, please visit:



This is your chance for a life-changing experience and excellent education!

BALTIC artists pick apart the human experience

5 weeks, 10 projects and 18 artists – if you have not thought about it then now is your last chance to make your way down to Newcastle to the spin-off of the main BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art to see the last week of BALTIC 39 | FIGURE TWO.

One cannot thank BALTIC enough for making brilliant films about every single exhibition that takes place in the two gallery spaces. Personally, I think they should get a medal for keeping the arts alive in the minds of 9-5 workers who cannot stroll in the galleries all the time and who might completely forget about doing it at all, even on a day off. The important thing is that BALTIC videos are not just event coverage. Instead, the exhibiting artists talk about life itself and how it is reflected in their work. Something very fundamental and essential to human experience shines through the work of all the artists who are or have exhibited in the BALTIC and BALTIC 39… maybe they are just asked the right questions on camera?

I would like to draw your attention to the third week of BALTIC 39 | FIGURE TWO. The exhibition is subtitled as Through the Gap Increasing, but what it really seems to be about it transcoding the world as a human being. In the work of Sarah Bayliss, Amelia Bywater & Rebecca Wilcox, Rachel Gay, Maria Angelica Madero, Ninna Bohn Pedersen and Nicola Singh language is dissolved, sight is deconstructed, mother & child relationship fractured into sense memories and flowing water compared to flickering screens of modern day. Explore and be inspired by the video below…

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Text by Kati Jägel

The making of dance, the uncrowned Gesamtkunstwerk.

Before I start, I must admit that as a former dance and choreographer the author of this post is somewhat biased… but enthusiasm is positive!

Rambert Dance have shared with us some of the most inspirational videos ever. Have you heard of Rooster, Christopher Bruce’s masterpiece set to the music of The Rolling Stones, an electrifying celebration of the Sixties? Have you seen it? If not, they are on stage again! First up on 20-24 May in Sadler’s Wells. The truly inspirational stuff, however, can be found in the rehearsal clips. The dancers’ relationship with the choreographer  is flavoured with admiration, obedience, dedication, worship and love. Love shines through the whole process during which both the choreographer and dancers forget about the rest of the world and perhaps even forget about the rules of gravity and their own mortality while they work and work and work to achieve divine perfection. The results bring together grace, movement, music, expression, poetry, visual art, performance, story…. dance has got everything in it. It is perfect. Start the transforming journey right here and finish at Sadler’s Wells for a cathartic experience.

image_4 (5)image_5 (2)       The making of Rooster                                     Rooster rehearsal


Really, it gets even better. On 15th of May we can enjoy live discussion between Rooster’s author and three other great dance artists from the comfort of our own homes. A total of four giants of contemporary choreography from both sides of the Atlantic are represented in Rambert’s forthcoming programme for Sadler’s Wells: Richard Alston and Christopher Bruce from the UK, and Lucinda Childs and Merce Cunningham from the US. With contrasting approaches and styles, they have made some of the most influential and acclaimed dance works of the past 50 years.
Ahead of the Sadler’s Wells performances, Alston, Bruce and Childs come together for one night only to discuss their lives in dance. They will be joined by former Cunningham dancer Jeannie Steele, who staged the late choreographer’s work for Rambert, and the panel will be chaired by dance writer and critic David Jays.
This unique event is an opportunity to gain first-hand insight from some of the artists who shaped contemporary dance as we know it today. Viewers can join in the conversation, posting questions online for the choreographers.
Watch it live here from 7pm.


Now, if you are really getting into dance or Rambert in particular then there is the Rambert Event in their own new space on three dates starting from the 28th of June. It is an extraordinary feast of dance featuring sequences, excerpts and complete dances in various spaces between which you may move as you please. Become part of the total artwork!


Text by Kati Jagel

Symposium: Art of the Edgelands

A really fascinating topic, prolific speakers and free entry – this is Art of the Edgelands on 26th April in Spacex gallery in Exeter.

This interdisciplinary symposium will consider the significance of ‘edgelands’ and other marginal spaces, neither urban nor rural, as sites for artistic inquiry, and as cultural spaces. Spacex’s current exhibition ‘Soft Estate’ (open until Saturday 3 May 2014) features artworks exploring the marginal spaces of contemporary motorway landscapes. Learn more about the exhibition in the video below!


Defined as a type of terrain ‘apparently unplanned, certainly uncelebrated and largely incomprehensible’ by environmentalist Marion Shoard, ‘edgelands’ have frequently been a source of inspiration for artists and writers.

Symposium speakers include Edward Chell, academic and lead artist of Spacex’s current exhibition ‘Soft Estate’; Dr. Caitlan DeSilvey, geographer and senior lecturer in Environmental Social Science, University of Exeter; Laura Oldfield Ford, artist and psycho-geographer; Joanne Lee, artist, writer, publisher and senior lecturer in Fine Art, Nottingham Trent University; Dr Jos Smith, associate research fellow, University of Exeter.

Get more information and book your free place here http://spacex.org.uk/events/symposium-art-of-the-edgelands-saturday-26-april/

Text by Kati Jagel 

The art of printmaking and your chance to take part

To those who are not familiar with printmaking and assume that it is just artless mechanic mass (re)production – and I used to be one of these people – the following videos could be real eyeopeners. To those who appreciate prints, the following videos will be… well, beautiful!

There are many different printmaking techniques, all executed manually and with great craftsmanship – discover them here. The artist is not always involved in the actual application of the ink to the canvas but is always the author of the artwork in terms of having drawn the image and it’s colour schemes. It is a rather unique process compared to painting or sculpting or any other traditional fine arts. The results can look like drawings, paintings or even photographs depending on the style and detail. Collecting modern prints has become very popular and some can be worth thousands of pounds as some of the keen TV viewers might have discovered on  tonight’s BBC2 ‘Collectaholics‘ programme 🙂

Printmaking workshops are getting ever more popular all around the UK. In Cumbria the next Printfest is soon about to take place – on 3rd and 4th of May – and there are always opportunities for the guests to get involved there! Not to mention the over 40 national and international artists exhibting… At the same time down south in Exeter, Spacex gallery offers printmaking workshops for children which you can read more about on their webpage.

To get you inspired have a look at the two print exhibitions at gallery/ten in Wales and if you are a true fan and considering going to Printfest then check out what a weekend in this UK’s only artist led print festival might look like.


gallery/ten print exhibition February/March

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gallery/ten exhibition March

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Printfest weekend


Text by Kati Jagel