Photos by Benjamin Jones
Bristol Experimental Expanded Film (BEEF) transport you through our emporium of modified machines and playful light and sonic attractions. Our exhibition includes projections, performances and installations, ranging from site specific works through to films made in faraway lands or in watery depths. BEEF will activate the links between early cinema and the origins of the department store, so come on in and browse!
Can’t Reach: a continuing social and perceptual
history of soap factory / department store windows
Works on paper - photographs, drawings; window pane; shop fittings; Rank Aldis Tutor 2 projector; warehouse trolley; pins
Melanie is photographing, filming and drawing the building’s windows, creating an evolving series of individual frames which form part of an installation within the shop floor, and a 16mm film for live projection.
Katy Connor & Shirley Pegna
Suspended screen, 16mm film with stereo sound
This collaborative work explores our mutual experiences of the Arctic, using sound, still and moving image. We each spent three weeks on a remote residency in Svalbard during the month of October: a twilight time where the hours of daylight rapidly give way to the Polar Night. Connor & Pegna visited three years apart, in 2015 and 2018 respectively. Skumring brings our distinct experiences together.
Connor's screen inserts a suspended glimpse of this environment into a shell of the deteriorating department store: here film is a tactile material, exposed to harsh Arctic surfaces of ice, snow, rock, fjord, glacier. Pegna senses the frozen water, hail and icy wind through her resonant frequencies of sound. Skumring brings these two environments together post-Covid - aligning them as those of sudden and dramatic change.
SHF (Smith, Hinde, Francis)
3 monitor film, filmed in Gardiner Haskins
The columns and open empty spaces of a derelict department store inspire three women to perform a series of physical actions. Their acrobatics are viewed on three monitors that, mirroring the gymnastics, tumble onto their sides, or turn upside down, as if unable to contain the kinetic energy. Tom Gunning conceives pre-cinema as one of ‘attractions’, because of the exhibitionism of the performers, who, shunning naturalism, continuously bow and gesture to the camera in order to establish contact with the audience. The women invite you to marvel at their physical prowess and at the range of their physical feats.
Inverted for HOPPO
1990 / 2020
Installation of a manually operated zoetrope teapot which was originally assembled by the artist in a previous century. The images depict the artist spinning in the opposite direction to the object, which is actioned by the viewer. In acknowledgment of Covid Times the installation incorporates hand sanitiser.
Multi-screen film on 9 monitors with sound
A collaboration with the river Frome which flows, hidden, beneath the city centre, close to Gardiner Haskins. Sediment and plants from the river are exposed directly onto 16mm film, and developed using eco-processing techniques. Physical traces form via a direct encounter between the material qualities of the river and the film itself, effecting both the visual and audio track, which is interwoven with underwater sound recordings. Digitised extracts from this film play on multiple television monitors displayed as if in a department store; traces of the river constantly reconfiguring into new compositions. Part of Kathy’s research with South West Creative Technology Network.
Joana Cifre-Cerdà and Claudia Pilsl
In this moving piece we explore possible reactions to an unforeseeable event and deal with the persistent numbing anxiety of something that resides outside of our control. The kitchen as a safe zone and locus of comfort is the stage where we engage with our own unique responses and copying mechanisms. Joana vents her fears in a frenzy of cutting and wraps, like a spider, perishables in fine string to store for later consumption whereas Claudia engages with a series of objects stored in her small kitchen in Vienna. These cooking paraphernalia, with their concrete physical presence and humble functionality affirm that there is still an everyday albeit filled with uncertainty and anxiety. They suggest a continuity from past to present moment with an implied promise of a future where food will be prepared and eaten.
The Missing Commas I &II - A film through a Shahre Farang
I made the Iranian style peep box (Shahre Farang) with the help of artist Jamie Gillman and support from CMIR 3 years ago. At its launch, it was used as a peep box where I presented a moving image piece inside. In this show, I have reversed the peep box into a projection booth to make it more suitable for these socially distanced times. The film projected from the Shahre Farang, is a super 8mm film named Missing Commas I&II. Shot during the lockdown in the spring of 2020, the 10 minute film combines images of daily activities of my family confined to our small garden and outings to the empty Bedminster train station with the sounds from 50’s Sci-Fi film and songs taken from old nursery rhymes. A capsule of worries and concerns about humans and animal kingdom inferences, power of nature, an extinction looming closer and parenting in times when force of nature challenges the sense of safety you are supposed to create.
Cartes de Visites
Screen Tests, 16mm film
The poor sensitivity to light in early photography meant that moving subjects were required to remain as still as possible for the prolonged exposure times. Warhol appears to reference this dynamic in his 1960s Screen Tests , yet in this series the condition of stillness is placed in tension with the medium of the moving image. The vast quantity of over 500 screen tests is also a seeming nod to the 19th c fashion for collectibles. During the 1850s the socially mobile posed for long photographic exposures and then exchanged these selfie calling cards with other members of the bourgeoisie. BEEF’s Department of Moving Images invites you to experience the long exposure and to join the line-up for Smith’s 2020 Screen Tests.
Within the flatness of death, lies therein, the ever present beauty of casting shadows, take, make what you will.
Thousands wonder how it was made
paper, glass vitrine
The title Thousands wonder how it was made refers to the fascination with optical devices in the 19th century, in particular the miniature world of teleoramas (paper peepshows). The bellows created an effect of receding perspective and transported viewers to historical events and faraway lands. These mass-produced souvenirs allowed viewers to suspend their disbelief, if only momentarily. Tissandier has created a teleorama incorporating images from the Vaughan Postcard Collection held by Bristol Archives. The photographs of early 20th century shop owners in this peepshow reflect on the history of Bristol's former businesses and trades. The evolution of family business names are reflected in the remnants of former department store signage around the exhibition space.
Overhead projection, mirrors
The images are distorted by the fabric of the building in the projections of Welsbach Mantle and reference early carnival attractions that used mirrors to create illusions and irregular reflections. Tissandier's use of mirrors seeks to highlight the phantasmal quality of the Vaughan Collection. We are reminded that the department store replaced these small individual shops, and we now witness the next stage in the history of the Gardiner Haskins department store as it is superseded by something else altogether.
BEEF Performance Event: AN EVENING OF LIVE PERFORMANCES FROM BEEF ARTISTS AS PART OF OUR 'DEPARTMENT OF MOVING IMAGES EXHIBITION' Friday 30 October 7-10pm Info + Tickets: £5 via Headfirst: hdfst.uk/E63156
Friday 30th October
Melanie Clifford: Can’t Reach
Can’t Reach: a continuing social and perceptual history of soap factory / department store windows.
16mm film projection with adapted Bell & Howell projector, hand-spun field-recorded vinyl dub plates, window pane, paper blind, ladder.
Kathy Hinde: River Traces
Screening of River Traces, a 16mm film created by directly exposing sediment and plants from the River Frome onto film, with a live-mixed soundtrack combining noise from the optical soundtrack with underwater recordings of the hidden river that flows beneath Bristol’s city centre.
Vicky Smith: Bicycle Tyre Track
‘Vicky Smith’s Bicycle Tyre Track (2012-14) elegantly integrated into one simple action each phase in the production and exhibition of a film. The artist inked up the wheels of a bicycle and proceeded to ride it up and down a single strip of clear 16mm film laid out diagonally across the floor. Inevitably, the black ink spread unevenly across the optical and soundstripe as Smith struggled to keep on a very narrow track‘ (Catherine Elwes).
David Hopkinson & Snoozie
Improvised projected interventions in the in-between.
Tapsew: special expanded performance with 16mm film
A high drama duet of sewing machine and tap dance. Scissors on thread; needle through cotton; metal via body on floor. The sounds of the machine and tones of the floor played out in tap, creating pace, tempo and rhythm in repetition and unification. Tapsew is Eliza Lomas and Sam Francis with Matt Davies.
Zoe Tissandier: Archive Assembly
This edition of Archive Assembly will create an audio visual shadow play via overhead projection to reflect on the history of Bristol's former businesses and trades.
Bristol Experimental Expanded Film (BEEF) is a film and sound collective supporting experimental practice in Bristol since 2015. BEEF members are a mix of artists, curators, producers, organisers, writers, teachers and academics.
BEEF provides an independent platform and much needed resource for artists’ production, distribution and critical engagement, predominantly focusing on experimental and analogue practices. BEEF members collaborate and work together to organise an on-going programme of events, screenings, performances, exhibitions, residencies, and film & sound workshops.
Thanks to the Centre of Gravity team for enabling BEEF to come together for this exhibition after a period of inactivity due to C19. Huge thanks also to BEEF member Elisa Kay for pulling the production of the exhibition together and Joe Evans for tech support.
Zoe Tissandier wishes to acknowledge Bristol Archives for use of the Vaughan Postcard Collection and thanks them for their assistance