Machine On Black Ground

Johnstone, Stephen and Ellard, Graham. 2009. Machine On Black Ground. [Film/Video]

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Creators: Johnstone, Stephen and Ellard, Graham
Abstract or Description:

Machine on Black Ground (2009) employs archival as well as original footage, combining images from early 1960s industrial documentaries, a concert by Tangerine Dream at Coventry Cathedral and recently shot abstract material of modernist stained glass architecture to suggest a utopian architectural project viewed from an “imagined subterranean space or vantage point.” In so doing, the film proposes two simultaneous formal analogies which suggest that different elements that make up an architectural structure can also be seen to act as a priori structural frameworks for the cinematic event; i.e. stained glass as filmstrip and the modernist cathedral as projector of light. Concurrent with this is the suggestion that the occluded view through the intensely coloured and almost opaque ‘beton glass’ stained window blocks is akin to a view through a lens or a capsule (perhaps a submersible, perhaps even a film frame itself) into a dreamlike, subterranean or distant world. Like all of our recent work, this latest film emphasises the inherent colour values and texture of 16mm stock, so that the quality of the film itself draws out the hallucinatory, time-capsule-like qualities of the spaces we have filmed.

Screenings include: 'Evolution. Sound and Experimental Film Festival', Leeds, 13th -16th May 2009; Brighton Film Festival 'I Know Where I am Going' (Ben Rivers and Ellard and Johnstone), Sallis Benny Theatre, Brighton, Nov 25th, 2009; 'Escape', Friday Late event in collaboration with The Architecture Foundation, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 25 June 2010.

Official URL:
Additional Information:

Machine on Black Ground can be viewed on-line at the Luxonline blog with an interview by Lucy Reynolds.

Departments, Centres and Research Units: Art
Dimensions or Duration:
Item ID: 2999
Date Deposited: 19 May 2010 13:30
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2017 14:55


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