Origin of the Species (2008) Courtesy of Ben Rivers and LUX, London.

A programme of films by artists Ben Rivers, Luke Fowler, Sarah Miles and Adam Chodzko, curated by Josephine Lanyon

We are pleased to present All the People, a film programme featuring four short films by artists Ben Rivers, Luke Fowler, Sarah Miles and Adam Chodzko. Curated by Josephine Lanyon, the programme will tour to Roxy Cinema, Axbridge, Strode Theatre, Street and Cinema Obscura, Wiveliscombe during Somerset Art Weeks 28 September to 1 October 2017. Each screening will be introduced by the curator and followed by a Q & A session with one of the artists.

Ben Rivers, Origin of the Species, 2008 (16 mins)
Luke Fowler, Depositions, 2014 (24 mins 32 secs)
Sarah Miles, Magnificent Ray, 2000 (23 mins)
Adam Chodzko, The Pickers, 2009 (17 mins, 52 secs)

In this beautifully absorbing programme, we find people casting their futures by re-imagining Britain’s rural past. The title is drawn from the county’s fiercely independent 1911 motto ‘all the people of Somerset’ and gathers powerful stories of creative culture, agricultural work and scientific investigations from the hinterlands.

The democratically produced films show how identities are formed through labour, love and learning in the landscape. The programme’s collection of insurgent voices  is inspired by Mark von Schlegel science fiction writings commissioned as part of Ben Rivers film Slow Action. Von Schlegel described Somerset as ‘distinguished by its fervent political culture’ and ‘revolutionary principles (that) extend into visual arts and music’.

In each work the film-maker is a quiet presence alongside the people and places. The films are thus a fusion of subject and landscape, fact and fiction, live action and archival material. The programme, hopes to speak to all the people; past, present and future.

We start our journey with Ben Rivers, who was born in Somerset, his film Origin of the Species, (2008) focusses on one man’s life pondering Charles Darwin. “I don’t know what’s going to happen … I can’t see the world surviving, unless there’s some awful disease or something wipes man out.” Shot on an acre of land in Scotland, our mind wanders through 3.8 billion years of human existence on planet earth whilst our eye is focussed on a waft of smoke and an adventurous beetle.

Rivers will participate in the Q & A at Roxy Cinema, Axbridge on Thursday 28 September.

Luke Fowler’s Depositions, (2014) explores the role of the Highland traveller in Gaelic Highland history and culture. The visual essay challenges documentary facts with religious beliefs and science fictions and incorporates tantalising images of the elements: fire, water and air. The film combines archival footage from the Isle of Barra with new footage and interviews to re-tell dignified life stories from a contemporary perspective.

Depositions (2014) Courtesy of Luke Fowler and LUX, London.

Sarah Miles returned to her childhood towns of Bridport and Portland in West Dorset to make Magnificent Ray, (2000). The work re-casts the landscape as a backdrop for a wild west dream movie. The rolling fields, abandoned buildings and fairgrounds are charged with teenage sexual tension. Miles draws on personal memories, potent sound tracks, feature film archives and local girls to frame our rural heroine.

Miles will participate in the Q & A at Cinema Obscura, Wiveliscombe Primary School on Sunday 1 October.

Magnificent Ray (2000) Courtesy of Sarah Miles and LUX, London.

Adam Chodzko’s, The Pickers, (2009) involves a group of Romanian migrant workers at a strawberry farm in Kent. At the beginning of the film the labourers are pictured in a hydroponic hi-tech environment but by the end we understand the subjects are also the authors of the film. As the individuals edit footage from a 20th century film archive of British migrant hop pickers they reflect on what it would mean for British migrant workers to come to Romania.

Chodzko will participate in the Q & A at Strode Theatre on Friday 29 September.

The Pickers (2009) Courtesy of Adam Chodzko and LUX, London.

All The People is curated by Josephine Lanyon, commissioned by Somerset Art Works and working in partnership with Somerset Film, supported by Lottery Funding from Arts Council England.

Screening Information:

THUR 28 September (Q&A with Ben Rivers)
7.30 – 9.30pm (doors open at 7pm)
Roxy Cinema, 36 High Street, Axbridge, BS26 2AF
Ticket: £5
Box Office: 07725 051523
Book online: https://allthepeopleroxycinema.eventbrite.co.uk

FRI 29 September (Q&A with Adam Chodzko)
7.30 – 9.30pm,
Strode Theatre, Church Road, Street, Somerset, BA16 OAB
Ticket: £8/£7 concessions
Box office: 01458 442846
Book online: http://www.strodetheatre.org.uk/whats-on/view/all-the-people/

SUN 1 October (Q&A with Sarah Miles)
7.30 – 9.30pm, (doors open at 7pm)
Cinema Obscura, Wiveliscombe Primary School New Hall, North Street, Wiveliscombe TA4 2LA
Ticket: £5
Box Office 01984 624657
Book online: allthepeople.eventbrite.co.uk

About the artists

Ben Rivers (born 1972) is an artist and experimental filmmaker based in London. He studied at Yeovil College, Somerset and Falmouth University. His films are enclosed spaces or hermetic worlds featuring people living on the edges of or differently to modernity. In 2010 Rivers received the Paul Hamlin Award for Artsts and was shortlisted for the Jarman Award. In 2013 Rivers produced The Two Eyes Are Not Brothers with ArtAngel. In 2017 Camden Arts Centre, Kunstverein in Hamburg, The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago and La Triennale di Milano published Ben Rivers: Ways of Worldmaking.

Adam Chodzko (born 1965) is an artist who works with video, installation, photography, drawing, and performance who lives and works in Whitstable, Kent. He graduated from the University of Manchester with a degree in the History of Art and completed an MA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, London. Chodzko’s artworks explore the interactions and possibilities of human behaviour. In 2002, Chodzko received awards from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York, and in 2007 was awarded an AHRC Creative Research Fellowship in the Film Department at the University of Kent, Canterbury. In 2015 Chodzko was shortlisted for the Jarman Award.

Luke Fowler (born 1978) is an artist, filmmaker, and musician based in Glasgow. He studied printmaking at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee. He creates cinematic collages that have often been linked to the British Free Cinema movement of the 1950s. His documentary films have explored counter cultural figures including Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing and English composer Cornelius Cardew. Fowler was awarded the inaugural Derek Jarman Award in 2008 and he was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2012.

Sarah Miles (born 1959) has been making experimental artist films for thirty years, appropriating found footage and creating staged scenarios informed by cultural references across analogue and digital formats. Her films are preoccupied with the representation of memory, sensitively investigating narratives, film history and popular culture to explore the complexities of lived experience and desire.

About the Curator

Josephine Lanyon (born 1970) is a curator, writer and producer based in Bristol. She studied Art History at the University of East Anglia and Visual Culture at Bath Spa University College. She was the Director of Picture This in Bristol for ten years up until 2009 and produced works such as Dawn Chorus, Marcus Coates; Rosalind Nashashibi, Bachelor Machines; Emily Wardill, Sick Serena and Dregs and Wreck and Wreck and Ben Rivers, Slow Action. In 2016 Lanyon curated Daphne Wright: Emotional Archaeology for Arnolfini, Bristol, National Trust, Tyntesfield and RHA, Dublin. She is currently working with Johanna Billing on a Public Art Commission for Bristol Grammar School and on an Artists Film and Video Development Plan with Somerset Art Works and Somerset Film.