Thursday, 13 January 2011

Graham Ellard and Stephen Johnstone's 'Things To Come'

Today I completed the first day of my technical internship at Sheffield's Site Gallery. I spent the day under the guidance of Graham Ellard and Stephen Johnstone. Ellard and Johnstone are filmakers, also lecturing at the University of the Arts in London. Really approachable guys who were at ease discussing their work.

The project Ellard & Johnstone are currently undertaking at Site is a commissioned piece entitled 'Things to Come.' It is based around Laszlo Moholy-Nagy's designs and images for British science fiction film 'Things to Come' (1936) directed by William Cameron Menzies. Moholy-Nagy was commissioned to design and shoot footage of a 'future city' which he completed only for the footage never to be used. His footage is considered lost but it is claimed the images "were so rich a visual result that the editor dare not use them."

The artists explained to me that they had travelled to Chicago and examined unpublished images of Laszlo Moholy-Nagy's implementation of the 'future city'. They are using these stills in order to re-create the 'future city' set comprised of abstract structures made from plastic, glass and metal. When the city is completed, 16mm film will be used to shoot a film imagining what an audience in the 1930s may have been greeted with had William Cameron Menzies included Moholy-Nagy's footage in 'Things to Come.'

My role today was fairly basic but enjoyable, running for components needed to make the set and a few hours threading a large metal square to create a loom-like hanging sculpture. It will be very satisfying if the prop I made actually appears in the final film as the artists plan to tour their film around European film festivals. It would be handy to tag onto my CV.

It was a great experience to assist on this kind of project and in the short space of a day i've learnt a huge amount about the running of an art gallery and the implementation of an exhibition of this nature. I'm due back next week to assist further while the 'Things to Come' project is still on-going.

Worth looking at;

The stills below were taken on my phone as it is all I had. They give an idea of the scale the set is constructed on, and the stage the project was at on the day I worked on the piece;