HOME is proud to present Is there anybody there?, a solo show by artist filmmaker Chris Paul Daniels.
For this exhibition, Daniels has sourced 70 different films from the North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan University to create a monumental study of cultural traditions, procession and ceremony. Guided by the unseen presence of a disembodied voice, the artist’s fictional script is accompanied with an original musical score composed by Graham Massey (808 State, Massonix).
Original footage has been shot by enthusiasts in their homes, on the street, by local film societies or professional productions, and selected by the artist from as early as 1901 to 1999. The films feature elaborate costumes of popular and imaginary figures, sporting activities, parades, and pride marches. Edited together to create a continuous flowing choreography, Is there anybody there? explores notions of individual and collective memory, examining how it is created, by whom, and whose stories, identities or cultures may be missing.
Daniels uses the archival footage as a malleable material to be sculpted and fragmented, collapsing and disrupting the chronology of time. The composition of image, voice and score are developed intuitively and in dialogue, each informing the other.
The fantastical imagery highlights generational shifts of cultural phenomena, exploring what is collectively ‘performed’, and how powerful fictions can be distorted. The single voice narration meanders from benignly descriptive, speculative, colliding references to idioms and current political lexicon, whilst conveying allusions to being summoned and taking on a sentient presence.
Fascinated by the slippages between what is real and what is not, the artist explores how historical events morph between legend, myth or folklore, and how endlessly performed rituals can become estranged out of time. The precarity of the narrative of history is exposed through fictions told by an unreliable narrator and proposes new stories to make sense of our lives for a parallel present or a projected future.
About the artist
Chris Paul Daniels graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2010 and lives and works in Manchester. His moving image work has been screened at film festivals and galleries internationally and is included in collections at University of Salford Art Collection, Grundy Art Gallery and Blackpool Council Collection via the Art Fund. He co-founded Unravel, the longest hand painted ﬁlm in Britain which led over a hundred public events across the UK including Tate Britain, BFI Southbank, Turner Contemporary and IKON Gallery and a residency at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Recent works include SAFE at HOME, One Square Mile for Quays Culture & University of Salford Art Collection (with Sam Meech), Northern Lights, a co-commission by ICA & The Grundy Art Gallery, The Book of Lies for the National Museum of Iceland, and Steinrunnin/Petrified commissioned by Curated Place and Einkofi Productions. He is a studio holder at Paradise Works Artist Studios in Salford, and a film programmer for the Cinema Paradiso events as part of HOME’s Artist Film Weekender, and also Braziers International Film Festival. He is a Senior Lecturer in Filmmaking at the School of Digital Arts, at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Curated by Clarissa Corfe. Commissioned by HOME. Supported by the North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan University
Image: Chris Paul Daniels, Is there anybody there? 2022, Film still.