In a recent filmmaking residency I extended the idea of chance affecting my work by developing my own version of automatic filmmaking. I invented a range of automaton camera operators and self powered automata, set them going, and tried to control the results. Mostly they fell over a lot. Visitors were also invited to join in, helping with the filming and providing suggestions for intertitles. The most popular camera carrier (at least with dads and lads) was a radio-controlled airship with several huge helium balloons taped to it for extra lift. This spent most of its time wedged into the beams of the ceiling when it floated out of reach of the controller. Two dramatic, and successful, rescue missions were launched using a small balloon and a piece of double sided tape. This play between helplessness and control has begun to fascinate me.
Automatic Film 1, (in another place), 05’51
This is a film more or less in three simultaneous parts. It opens with an outsider’s view of the wonders of a midnight ball. Next we are introduced to the world of an industrious hopping teaspoon. Finally aimless ships float dreamily through the architectural heavens. I really don’t know what it all means.
Automatic Film II (sideshow) This film was made on the first day of a mini residency for Sideshow in Nottingham’s defunct costume museum. This piece saw the introduction of a number of very difficult clockwork actors who mostly refused to cooperate with any of my original ideas. Instead they ran amok in their own little world. I think we ended up with a sort of noirish murder mystery, but I could be mistaken. click to play
Automatic Film III (all moveables of wonder)This is the second Automatic Film made for Sideshow. It plunges into the nightmarish world of the funfair sideshow where a mysterious puppeteer orchestrates something and then loses its hat. The film was inspired by the discovery of two red clipboards and a poem by Wordsworth, honestly. click to play