Author: Vallance, Andrew (19 June 2017)


Pairs: - / -, The Depot, London, 19, 27 June & 3, 10 July 2017. Curator.

Featuring: Jennifer Nightingale/Simon Payne, Nick Collins/Cathy Rodgers, Nicky Hamlyn/Neil Henderson, Amy Dickson/Jamie Jenkinson

Pairs: - / -, was a curated series of four events, each of which featured two artist-filmmakers, who presented new work, alongside a work that inspired them, and was introduced by a printed version of a conversation between the featured pair. Its combination of works and words, and consideration of site, facilitated research into creative, critical and curatorial practice and its public manifestation.

My curatorial practice examines film and video exhibition configuration, the resulting spectatorship and addresses the need to develop more accessible knowledge exchange, through challenging the passivity of most film presentations. Pairs’ furthered my investigation into the importance of discursive programming, how through this developmental methodology artists and audiences can experience a more rewarding encounter.

The series presented diverse experimental film and video practices through peer-to-peer and artist-to-audience dialogues. The pairs had shared and/or contrasting areas of interest, and their transcribed conversations, which is a neglected area of research, reflected on their own and one another’s practices and informed the series. Further to this, the artists’ inspirational film choices provided tracible linkages. The works were presented in their original formats – film and digital projections (single and double screen) and multi-media performance – reinforcing the importance of medium specificity within this field. Some of the artists are key figures in the history of experimental film and in combining their work with that of younger artists, the ‘pairings’ built on the field’s legacy and dissemination.

This configuration allowed related debates - contextual histories, thematic focus, exhibition strategies - to occur in an insightful and relatable manner. It reflected the featured works’ experimental intent, a questioning of form and content, created an active encounter between the works and their reception, always an experimental aspiration, and offered a more interactive experience through its discursive assemblage.

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