This is Now: film and video after punk (Part Three)
The final event in our This is Now screening series features the Programmes Performing the Self and Just Images. This is Now looks at film and video works the unique period in the early eighties when cheap new technologies provided channels through which new voices could be heard, reinvigorating the DIY approach to punk.
New ways of thinking about identity, the self and the body were all part of punk’s powerful legacy. This unlikely cocktail of visionary experimental films and bright, brash pop videos shows how visual culture changed radically at the start of the 1980s. Genre boundaries became blurred and the use of masks and make-up challenged the conventions of identity construction and representation – often to the sound of a catchy electronic melody.
Still Life With Phrenology Head, UK, 1979, dir. Cerith Wyn Evans, 14 min; Human League: Don’t You Want Me, UK, 1981, dir. Steve Barron, 4 min; Chat Rap, UK, 1983, dir. John Scarlett-Davis, 15 min; Adam Ant: Stand and Deliver, UK, 1981, dir. Mike Mansfield & Adam Ant, 3 min; Adam Ant: Prince Charming, UK, 1981, dir. Mike Mansfield & Adam Ant, 3 min; The Modern Image, UK, 1978, dir. John Maybury, 13 min; Solitude, UK, 1981, dir. John Maybury, 13 min; Bungalow Depression, UK, 1981, dir. Grayson Perry & Jennifer Binnie, 4 min; The Private View, UK, 1981, dir. The Neo-Naturists, 7 min
The moral, political and symbolic integrity of the image itself is interrogated and overturned in these richly textured films. John Maybury casts Siouxsie Sioux and fashion designer David Holah in one of the singularly most stunning and ambitious Super 8 works of the era, the existential genderfuck Court of Miracles. Young filmmakers bring on the post-modern age.
The Court of Miracles, UK, 1982, dir. John Maybury, 44 min; Glory Boys?, UK, 1983, dir. Vanda Carter, 4 min; Territories, UK, 1984, dir. Isaac Julien, 24 min; Psychic TV: Unclean, UK, 1984, dir. Cerith Wyn Evans & John Maybury, 9 min
Distributed by Lux with the support of the BFI, awarding funds from The National Lottery
Image: Still from The Court of Miracles, John Maybury, 1982