Films by Artists
Tania Ketenjian, 7 September 2011

A few years ago, I saw the amazing film, Hunger, by Steve McQueen. McQueen, who had won a The Turner Prize in 1999, had an ability to create images like paintings. Some shots from Hunger and the emotional residue it left behind stays with me today.

When I was last in London, I went to see the Tracey Emin retrospective at the Hayward Gallery. The exhibition presented a vast collection of her work, most of it brilliantly produced and displayed. However, the thing that seemed to stay with me the most was her film where she straightforwardly, unabashedly and yet somehow un-dramatically spoke of her harrowing abortion that she had earlier in her life.

Now Gillian Wearing, another artist from the UK who also won The Turner Prize (this time in 1997), has made a film that is receiving remarkable acclaim and sounds fascinating. For several years, she has been making films that all start with an ad in the paper. For instance, her ad recruiting people for a film in 1994 read: “Confess all on video. Don’t worry, you will be in disguise. Intrigued? Call Gillian.” She got many responses and she did exactly what the ad said, invited people to confess their deepest and darkest secrets on film. All kinds of things came out and it’s amazing just how much people not only love but have a profound need to reveal their inner secrets and longings. Much like an artist creating a work of art, releasing an inner emotion, experience or vision, speaking and sharing can have that same effect, and in the case of the dynamic Wearing sets up, it does.

Her most recent film, Self Made, also started with an advertisement but this time 2000 people responded. Maybe they caught on that the Gillian referred to in the ad is Wearing herself. The final seven people in the film go through an intimate series of sessions on method acting, arriving at a place where they can play someone fictional, yet make it seem entirely real and so deeply felt. Kira Cochrane of The Guardian wrote that Self Made is, “an emotionally wrenching, uncompromising, sometimes horrifying piece of work. It is also incredibly powerful.” The same could be said for Steve McQueen’s Hunger and Tracey Emin’s film about her abortion. What I love about Self Made is the advertising bit, the use of such a seemingly arcane avenue to gather subjects for her film. Classified ads? So old school yet so intimate.

Do you know of any brilliant films by artists? And how does a film by an artist differ from a film by a filmmaker? And is it unfair to distinguish a filmmaker from an artist? I really do want to hear your thoughts so please share.

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Categories :  Artists | Culture | Film | Galleries
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7 September 2011
Issue 09

After some creative strategy brainstorming over here at HQ we have decided to take a new direction with our next issue.

Issue 09 will be the first in a continuing series of themed issues of The [Un]Observed. With this focus we aim to challenge our curatorial style, to continue to forefront the work of a growing number of artists and producers, whilst allowing The [Un]Observed to realize itself more fully as a publication.

The first issue takes the theme of Borders. We are already over the moon about the works we have lined up and can’t wait to share them with you.

7 September 2011
The [Un]Observed: Live

After the success of our last event at OHIO in March, we’re going for round two.

We’re hoping to add a performance element to the lineup, showcasing the talents of some amazing local artists, in addition to our selections from the magazine.

We are committed to maintaining our goal of clearing a space for creative thinkers and audiophiles to meet and mingle and listen. Stay tuned for details.

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Francesca Panetta was in town and to celebrate, we decided we would have an audiofile party, a chance for people who love sound to geek out for the evening over delicious food. So a little over a week ago, we got together, at tart made by Philip, and talked shop with Andrew Roth, Ben Furstenberg, Aaron Ximm, Roman Mars, Amy Standen and Jeremiah Moore. We realized how fun it was and hope to have more audio parties in the future…

5 May 2011
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In less than two weeks, The [Un]Observed will have its debut on WGXC in New York, the radio station for the brilliant Free103point9 which presents some of the best transmission arts around. We’ll be launching our show with new work from the upcoming edition. On deck will also be the remarkable Gregory Whitehead who has been an inspiration for many on how to make great audio. Stay tuned on May 14th for The [Un]Observed on WGXC.


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