CARRY ON CAMPING:
Wit and Subversion in Contemporary British Artists’ Film and Video
Camp is always difficult to define. It is not kitsch, which is bad art miscalculated with the best of intensions; camp art can be good art created with the worst of intentions. It is not the same as gay, but there is a large area of overlap. Camp is the taking of irresponsible delight
This selection is a startling and awe-inspiring display of sparkling wit and daring subversion of accepted sexual and social manners and morals. The artists in this programme of British experimental film and video dare to crack open the hypocrisy and taboos of modern life, cruelly ridiculing its values and conventions to hilarious effect.
Paul Bush Pas de deux de deux, UK, 2002, 2 mins.
The classic ballet movement, with the dancers swapped mid-movement.
Paul Bush Furniture Poetry, UK, 2000, 4 mins.
As Wittgenstein suggested, objects do vanish and alter their shapes when no-one is looking.
Paul Bush Busby Berkeley’s Tribute to Mae West, 2003, 2 mins.
A funny and rude film, where and anonymous penis performs multiple choreographed dance routines
Stuart Marshall / Neil Bartlett The Pedagogue, UK, 1988, 10 mins.
Famous gay theatre director and performer, Neil Bartlett, plays a teacher who subverts some anti-gay legislation to become the basis of his personal fantasies.
John Smith The Waste Land, UK, 1999, 5 mins.
A pub in the East End of London becomes the unlikely place for a recitation of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. But then, his name is an anagram of ‘toilet’!
Sebastian Wrong Bearly Alive, UK, 2003, 3 mins.
A bear experiences external forces that his body cannot withstand. Bit by bit he starts to disintegrate.
Matt Hulse Take Me Home, UK, 1997, 8 mins.
An innovative and exhilarating exploration into the bizarre and unsettling behaviour of a vulnerable specimen who streaks seamlessly through space and time.
Matt Hulse Hotel Central, UK, 2000, 8 mins.
Inanimate objects take on a life of their own as internal and external worlds collide and the expectations of each are reversed.
Paul Tarrago Human Error in the Mechanical Age, UK, 1997, 12 mins
Set in the hinterland between a good book and bad night, this is a testament to inappropriateness. Moving from woodland to bedroom, home life turns bad as man’s best friend becomes a moving target.
Bev Zalcock/Sara Chambers Oh Odessa!, UK, 2001, 5 mins.
A re-working of Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin, girl style!
Secret Love, Bev Zalcock, UK, 1992, 3 mins.
A secret homage to a lesbian torch song singer. The singer and the song have another meaning.
Love is All, UK, 2001, 6 mins.
A winter bound Snow Queen dreams of love and the blooming spring. Through frosted rococo cartouches, she sings of the virtues of true love.
Matt Hulse That Kilty Feelin', UK, 1994 2 mins.
The Scots feel the breeze under their kilts. Nationalism ? Naturism ? Naturalisation ?
Programme running time: 68 mins.
Helen de Witt
Helen is a film programmer, writer and lecturer, who has worked for the British Film Institute, the Lux Centre for Film, Video and Digital Arts and several London independent cinemas. She teaches film studies at Birkbeck College, University of London and writes on artists’ films, independent cinema and football.
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