Vivid Projects

6 – 21 May 2016, Birmingham

Vivid Projects presents NOISE + NOSTALGIA, a season exploring the post-punk aesthetic in moving image and sound. Comprising film exhibition, screenings and live events, the season features key artists working with film between 1978–87 and examines the means by which moving image culture, its making and meaning was disrupted after punk.

Provocative and daring work features throughout, and Vivid Projects are delighted to present the Birmingham premiere of the full touring programme THIS IS NOW: FILM AND VIDEO AFTER PUNK in partnership with LUX and the BFI National Archive. Screenings will take place each week as part of the gallery exhibition and include rare Super-8 and 16mm films – unseen for a generation – digitally remastered by the BFI National Archive.

The ‘post-punk’ aesthetic experiment remains a key influence in artists’ film and music through the use of found footage, sampling, appropriation, industrial ambience, scratch video and provocative thinking about self and the body. The programme features a wide selection of artists including John Maybury, Gorilla Tapes, Richard Heslop, Isaac Julien, Sophie Muller, The Neo-Naturists, George Barber, Grayson Perry, Tim Pope, John Scarlett-Davis, John Smith, Cordelia Swann and Jill Westwood. NOISE + NOSTALGIA demonstrates how the subculture of the eighties emerges; an increasingly confident and critical remaking of the visual and political environment against a backdrop of mainstream complacency and urban despair. The aesthetic impact of television on visual culture permeates throughout, with artists and film-makers plundering mainstream media for samples and bypassing copyright and censorship, using scratch video and bricolage to subvert the material. These tactics resonate sharply today with free culture ethics and the restrictions of copyright.

UK art schools were key players. Enabled by access to U-matic tape, Super-8 film and video technologies, experimental moving image flourished. Daniel Landin and Richard Heslop collaborated with groups including Throbbing Gristle and 23 Skidoo, developing a visionary and influential visual style incorporating Super-8 and 16mm for live projection. Artists John Scarlett-Davis and George Barber were key exponents of ‘scratch video’, a politically sharp video-collage movement of the early eighties notable for a highly charged visual style, using colour, music and fast editing in a manner that became the mainstay of youth tv. Scarlett-Davis worked with Derek Jarman on films and music videos, as did Richard Heslop and John Maybury who went on to develop singular work in British independent film.

The screenings from the BFI programme take place at Vivid Projects alongside an expanded exhibition of rarely seen works from the Vivid Projects archive. Selections include the remastered Seven Songs: 23 Skidoo (Richard Heslop), works from Birmingham Film and Video Workshop – an example of the socially engaged work from the franchised Film and Video Workshops across the UK commissioned by Channel 4 – and Fat Of The Land, selected British films 1984–1987, Richard Heslop, Daniel Landin and Joy Perino. Accompanied by weekly archival picks plus research into women musicians in the post punk era by artist Cathy Wade.


Friday 6 May, 7 – 9pm
Season launch at Vivid Projects and offsite screenings across three venues at Minerva Works. The event includes HOME TAPING (7.30pm, Vivid Projects); PERFORMING THE SELF (6pm, Grand Union); and THROUGH A GLASS, DARKLY (Centrala, 9pm). THIS IS NOW screenings continue at Vivid Projects through 21 May.

Thursday 12 May, 7 – 9pm
Justin Wiggan, Cathy Wade and Nicholas Bullen interrogate narratives of nostalgia in the post-punk era.

Thursday 19 May, 7 – 9pm
A screening and in conversation with Justin Smith (Fifty Years of British Music, 1965 – 2015) and award-winning film and music video director Richard Heslop (The Cure, The Smiths, New Order, Sinead O’Connor, Queen, Pop Will Eat Itself, Happy Mondays), presented in collaboration with the Birmingham City University, Parkside Gallery exhibition Is There Anybody Out There? Documenting Birmingham’s Alternative Music Scene 1986–1990.

Saturday 21 May, 10 – 8pm
A one-day collaborative workshop culminating in a live AV performance, where participants will utilise a wide range of analogue and digital image-making equipment. Led by Midlands-based artists Sarah Walden, John Bradburn and Ollie Macdonald-Brown.


Friday 6 May
6pm: PERFORMING THE SELF at Grand Union, 19 Minerva Works
7.30pm: HOME TAPING at Vivid Projects, 16 Minerva Works
9pm: THROUGH A GLASS, DARKLY at Centrala, 4 Minerva Works

Saturday 7 May
2pm: VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR at Vivid Projects

Thursday 12 May
2pm: JUST IMAGES at Vivid Projects

Friday 13 May
2pm: BEFORE AND AFTER SCIENCE at Vivid Projects

Saturday 14 May
2pm: ENTERING THE DREAM SPACE at Vivid Projects

Thursday 19 May
2pm: VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR at Vivid Projects
4pm: PERFORMING THE SELF at Vivid Projects
7pm: HOME TAPING at Birmingham City University, Parkside Gallery

Friday 20 May
2pm: BEFORE AND AFTER SCIENCE at Vivid Projects
4pm: ENTERING THE DREAM SPACE at Vivid Projects

Saturday 21 May
Time TBC: JUST IMAGES at Vivid Projects
Time TBC: THROUGH A GLASS, DARKLY at Vivid Projects

For more information, please visit the Vivid Projects website.