On the Big Screen: Artists in the Archive

It’s the New Year so it’s time for a new programme! This month, The Bigger Picture presents Artists in the Archive, a programme that looks at artists’ use of archive footage as sources of inspiration and content.

Screen Tests, a project by Ben White, Eileen Simpson, Neil Cummings and Marysia Lewandowska, is a series of Andy Warhol-like screen tests which slowly reveal the location and occupations of the people in front of the camera – students and models from the Manchester School of Art. The film also shows how holidays should be done with archive footage from family holidays in the North-West.

susan pui san lok’s REEL is an alternating audio / video sequence drawn from regional ITV news footage held at the Media Archive of Central England (MACE), dating from the late 1950s to the mid-1980s. Comprising material classified under ‘Dance’ that might variously be designated ‘cultural’, ‘national’ or ‘traditional’, footage ranges from ‘Ballroom’ to ‘Morris’ to ‘Ukrainian Folk’, while their corresponding audio are compressed into a chronological, cultural soundtrack.

Louise K. Wilson’s Euphony highlights that her interest in the North West Film Archive spans the collection itself, the physical process of film preservation, and the social process of collaboration. During a period of intense immersion Wilson sought out the spectacle and performance elements within the archive and brought these to her final work for The Bigger Picture.