Tomorrow, Friday 10th January, sees the sixth edition of Tintype gallery’s celebrated ESSEX ROAD programme featuring artists Ayo Akingbade, Adam Chodzco, Patrick Goddard, Lucy Harris, Rebecca Lennon, Maryam Mohajer, Melanie Smith and Webb-Ellis.
Since its inception in 2013, Tintype has commissioned 48 artists’ films and is recognised for its significance within the ecology of moving image arts in the UK, enabling eight artists each year to create new work. The brief is to respond to a street in London and create a film, however, the resulting works have been vibrantly different, illuminating the diversity within a very specific locale. Tintype’s large window becomes a public screen for five weeks with the eight films screened on a loop every evening from 5–7pm, shedding some light and inspiration in the January gloom.
The driving force behind the programme is to foster new work and promote creativity. The eclectic line up this year is:
Ayo Akingbade is a young artist based in London. Her work to date has emerged from and mediates the urban environment, which she distils into highly personal, idiosyncratic narratives. Her work, Hella Trees was filmed in the Colebrooke Row and Duncan Terrace Gardens, south of the Angel. It follows a young obsessive, Rafiki, whose artistic practice focuses on trees, their individuality and presence. The film segues into a laconic conversation about identity and wanting to confound stereotypes, inviting people to look closer and go beyond the obvious.
Adam Chodzko works across media, exploring our conscious and unconscious behaviour, social relations and collective imaginations through artworks that are propositions for alternative forms of ‘social media.’ His work speculates how, through the visual, we might best connect with others. His film is entitled Fluid Dynamics; The Quail is Rising. Under Essex Road flows the remains of the New River, a project from the early 17th century to bring fresh water to London.
Patrick Goddard’s politically loaded and narrative-based works operate as black comedy. Shot in his subversive, low-fi mockumentary style, his films chart the artist’s fumbled attempts to create a personal and political integrity. The films are by turns awkward, astute, cringe-inducing and laugh-out-loud funny. They all share an underlying dissection of authority, often turning the focus of subject onto the artist himself. His film, ‘Black Valuation’, Halloween and the ghouls come out, Patrick Doddard, the supposed recent inheritor of the Tintype gallery building, has the property valued by an unsuspecting estate agent. Having convinced the agent earlier in the day that party straight after their meeting, Goddard conducts the consultation in full ‘corpse paint’.During the course of the conversation Goddard reveals he intends to evict Teresa, the gallery director, gain planning permission to convert the building into flats and sell the property for the maximum profit as soon as possible.
Lucy Harris works with 16mm film to investigate sites, objects and sourced images — postcards, photographs, archive film — creating interweaving visual narratives that explore film as a site of illusion and allusion. A continuing concern in her practice is a consideration of what exists outside the offered frame of reference through processes that reveal the filmed image as constructed — altered via illusion, framing and exposure. Her 16mm film Reading Room explores the surface and texture of the physical space, materials and architecture of Islington South Library in Essex Road. Features of the library’s grand marble foyer, doors and windows are visually paired with images of books, their pages a portal to multiple experiences and landscapes of the imagination.
Rebecca Lennon works across media including video, text, performance, sound and music to think about and play with the non-linear shapes and rhythms of the voice, memory and the speaking body. She brings weight to words, to the power of speech, to the power of repetition — abstracting, making surreal — bringing us back to the concrete and physical. Her work entitled ‘House of Wolf’ Is a film that collages words from the names of shops and pubs in Essex Road and nearby Upper Street, with shots of surface cracks, statues, letting agency signs, hoardings and Christmas trees. ‘House of Wolf’ explores through poetic composition the way our streets and their architecture, our social fabric and rituals attempt to own and contain the wild — with varied success.
Maryam Mohajer’s wry, keenly observed, animated films focus on ordinary lives under pressure. For her commissioned work for Essex Road 6, she has been making a series of drawings in some of the cafés in Essex Road. The resulting film, NI, is a series of sketches observing relationships in both conflict and collaboration, and textures gleaned from local shops such as Steve Hatt fishmongers, and the popular haberdashery shop Ray Stitch.
Melanie Smith’s work relates to an expanded vision of the notion of modernity and forms critiques on its aesthetic-political structure. She is interested in revealing tensions implicit within industrial society between the economy, forms of, violence and chaos. Her eve is attuned to surreal events in everyday life, the intensity of the street and finding potential in ‘messed up’ situations. Her film, 5 MINS, queries whereabouts and locality within cities by focusing on the abstracted orange dots, dashes and signs that appear on the computer-generated bus timetables in Essex Road found at most bus-stops.
Webb-Ellis (Caitlin and Andrew Webb-Ellis) are a British/Canadian artist duo. Their films often reveal the story of their own making in which coincidence and fiction play a significant role. They interlace images, encounters, stories and sounds of their personal experiences into work that seeks to address what it is to be human in these strange times. Their film, For One Who is Exhausted is structured as a list of everyday pleasures, collected from people on Essex Road. Shot near the Angel, a symbolic angel appears to hover above the action, an overseer of this intersection of human life, memory and the everyday.
The exhibition is on until the 9 February with the films screening from 5–11pm daily.
107 Essex Road