On the Big Screen: Single Shot

Single Shot is a series of newly commissioned film and video works by established artists and new talent.The distinguishing feature of the project is that all the works are shot in one single take.

Echoing the nature of this highly immediate and accessible aesthetic, the works are also available as downloads, via the web, or via Single Shot Bluevend vending machine. Visitors to Cornerhouse will be able to use Bluevend to download a selection of the films to their mobile phones for free during regular opening hours between Saturday 13 January and Sunday 28 January 2007.

Single Shot will journey the length and breadth of the country on a five-month tour of some of England’s major cities.

Single Shot in Manchester

The Bigger Picture is delighted to announce that Single Shot works will be making periodic appearances on Manchester’s Big Screen in Exchange Square. Connecting different parts of the city, Single Shot is a ‘mini-festival’ of moving-image works that can be enjoyed as an emerging programme or a series of brief and engaging fragments.

Selected works for The Bigger Picture, Big Screen Manchester:

An element of chance is to be found in George Barber’s Automotive Action Painting. Observed from an overhead camera, a man stops by the roadside one morning and empties the contents of a number of large cans of paint over the tarmac. As the light rises, along with the level of traffic, the cars spread the paint along the surface of the road, creating an abstract smear of vibrant colour.

In Pomegranate Ori Gersht has created a carefully composed scene reminiscent of a sixteenth century Juan Sanchez Cotan still life where a pomegranate fruit stands out from a muted, theatrical backdrop. After a few moments, this symbolic fruit is exploded by a high-velocity bullet; seeds spilling from its disintegrating carcass in extreme slow-motion, and with an eerie and terrible beauty.

Matthew Grinter’s Tea Leaves has the camera gliding past the assembled clientele of a crowded café. Checking out the crowd the camera allows the viewer to eavesdrop into conversations. After the first circumnavigation of the room, we become aware of a domino-effect of interconnected actions, which builds to a conclusion as the piece completes its final elegant pass.

In Automaton a motion control camera rig, most often used in the production of special effects, is employed by artist Sean Dower. Dower has the camera swoop around the circles of a full-size drum kit, following each chromed curve; intermittently a drummer can be glimpsed amongst the equipment, playing a solo with the virtuosity of the camera that tracks the instrument itself.

In Hyewon Kwon’s Bittersweet, a pianist plays Francis Lai’s sugary ‘Theme from Love Story’, one of the easy-to-play piano melodies that can be readily performed with two fingers. The twist in Bittersweet though is that the pianist (who has the congenital condition ectrodactyly) actually only has two fingers on each hand. This single-take close-up of them caressing the keys is both disconcerting and deeply poignant.

Mike Marshall’s work Birdcatcher consists of a single tracking shot through a forest within the city borders of Bombay, its smooth mechanical movement contrasting with the complex natural environment it explores. Suspended above the verdant terrain, the camera is seemingly drawn along by an atmospheric soundtrack of precisely orchestrated birdsong, modulating continuously in time with its passage through the trees.

Being There, by Matthew Murdoch, is a charming self-referential cameo. As the static camera slowly zooms out over the course of the film, a section of Hadrian’s Wall is revealed. Simultaneously we listen to a taped phone conversation between the artist and his father as they finalise their travel arrangements to go and see England play Scotland at rugby in Edinburgh; a journey that involves a stop-off en route to shoot the scene we are currently watching, and entry for a ‘single shot’ project remarkably similar to the one in which the piece is now showcased.

Paul Rooney’s Dust, is set on a commercial freighter mysteriously marooned within touching distance of land. The eight-minute handheld travelling shot, restlessly circling round the deck of the boat, evokes a state of personal limbo, whose rising anxieties are reflected in an elegantly dissonant Brecht/Weill-influenced soundtrack and in a half-whispered, half-sung monologue haunted by memory and history.

Single Shot is the first project to be supported by a major new collaboration between The UK Film Council’s New Cinema Fund and Arts Council England. The project has received additional support from Illy.

‘Single Shot’ is managed by Film and Video Umbrella and Maya Vision International.

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