A lot of my artistic inspiration is triggered by old projects either from college days, university or simply working independently. I tend to forget that I’ve been a practicing artist now for over 25 years, an old rocker. Also, I find reviewing previous projects are helpful not only for inspiration but to continually keep a dialogue going between the past and the present, which enable me to see transitions in my practice over the years with more clarity.
This old Super 8 film hasn’t been viewed for years. I thought it was lost forever and would remain in my ever-increasing, hazy imagination. However, recently my sister informed me that she had found some old Maxell VHS tapes of mine in her loft. Oh no! Nothing incriminating, I thought. When seeing the title, I was chuffed to bits. After finding someone to transfer them from video to DVD, I tweaked the picture brightness, added credits but other than that, the footage largely remains the same as its original cut. The film title comes from a boat trip organised for 2nd Year and 3rd year U.W.E. Graphic students by one of the tutors, Bob Burn. I think we were all doing projects based on Bristol and its surrounding environment and old BB thought that this trip would fuel us with more ideas and inspiration. It did.
It was a particularly hot day and as you can see, everyone was armed with sketch pads, pencils, pens and cameras. I took along my Super 8 camera and a few cassettes of film and spent most of the day panning scenes of interest without any particular aim.
After the film came back from the processors, I toyed with the film speeds, playing the footage backwards and forwards. When reversing the film, I was instantly attracted to the anti-narrative and its similarities to the Beatles’ Strawberry Fields video. Using my dinky Agfa Super 8 editor, I got the scissors out and began cutting it to pieces. A process commonly know as editing. At this stage of film making, I had not learned of Eisenstein’s montage techniques. Ignorance is bliss? Super 8 film has a unique translucent quality. There are scenes especially on the riverbank which are just atmospheric and dream like.
I was so nervous when presenting this to the graphics group. I managing to get past the Q & A session unscathed and fortunately it was well received. I don’t know how Sergei Prokofiev’s Dance of The Knights ended up as the accompanying soundtrack. I think it works though and Youtube haven’t objected to my theft….. yet.