To Estates is a meeting of two half hour long films set in East London: John Smith’s Hackney Marshes (TV Version) from 1978 and a film from 2016 by Warren Garland (Neuromantics): Ways of Seeing (A Day in the Life). Two artists’ views on the impact of concrete- and brick- brutalist, boxy industrial residential architecture and the communities that form, in and around the block, during and just after construction. A generous and playful, immersive and invested inside view of a normally closed environment. The programme was first shown in London before Grenfell. Since then, it seems even more important to screen again.
Artists and works:
Ways of Seeing (A Day in the Life), HD video, 2016, 25 min (screening edit)
Shot on iPhone through the POV standpoint Ways of Seeing (A Day in the Life) is a humorous look at a graduate artist in full time employment and their application of art theory to their surrounding environment. The audio of the film is taken from the 1972 BBC essay film titled Ways of Seeing by John Berger (who is sorely missed and whose voice is even more magnificent now). The text from this film has been used in the majority of art schools across Britain for the last thirty years and explores the essay of Walter Benjamin: Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, but Berger pushes Benjamin’s theories to seeing art works on the screen, and investigates mystification of art in art theory.
Hackney Marshes (TV Version), 16mm transferred to HD video, 1978, 30 min
Editorial, Hackney Gazette 1978:
“HACKNEY MARSHES IN THE PICTURE
The Hackney Gazette announces the TV showing of John Smith’s Hackney Marshes, 1978: Next Tuesday sees the showing on London Weekend Television of a documentary about Hackney Marshes. It is the first television film of Hackney freelance film-maker John Smith, of Lansdowne Drive. It concentrates on the high rise flats in Mandeville Street which overlook the marshes, getting impressions from residents about their life “in the clouds”. (LUX website)
John Smith (uses) urban space, with a piece of nature claimed and preserved as a sports space, and plays on the relations between buildings and field in a very formally constructed work which manipulates space, light, and color. (mubi.com)
Neuromantics are a screening collective presenting work with an immersive relationship to local and distant places and processes. Each programme is a freestanding session in a series that explores different states of consciousness in space and time; physical and cognitive aspects of artistic- and other types of work; memories and sensations that have been generated through engagement with materials and other beings; and the traces and impressions left by those on the world around us.
Platforms Project Independent Art Fair, Athens School of Fine Arts, Pireos, Ag. Ioannis Rentis 182 33, Greece