A little while ago, I made some films for Centred (a charity I have previously referred to as Kairos). The films were the product of a workshop I ran in conjunction with the Soho walking tour the charity runs. On December 11th they had their first public airing at the Centred Winter Warmer, which is a kind of performance / logistics evening in which everyone involved with relevant activities comes and speaks.
I briefly introduced the films, but one of the points I wanted to make, that may have been a little irrelevant given the audience, was that this is the first time I have tried a workshop in which the participants transform a social experience into an artistic one.
I mentioned this in another post, where I pointed out some of the difficulties of running that workshop, particularly regards my own inexperience re. working with BSL interpreters and deaf participants. However now that the films have been edited and screened, some other things came to mind.
The first thing is about how I would approach the workshop next time. As I was watching, I suddenly realised that I could have structured the workshop around the whole group, instead of taking different groups off to film individually. We were in the Soho theatre, it was very hot under the lights, and I was wary of the time, but I’d arranged the workshop in such a way that I hadn’t introduced the participants to the camera, or to some of the conventions of working on a film set (albeit a very small one.) It’s funny how the way you structure a project eliminates certain possibilities. But as I watched the films back, it occurred to me that it would have been interesting to have the participants in the frame. Given that I was not trying to make a polished film, but a kind of documentation of ideas / how people processed their ideas / what visual possibilities lay therein, why stick with the conventions of ordinary filmmaking? There could have been more intra-group collaboration too, but it’s tricky: given the panic the idea of presenting an idea visually caused in some people, I am not sure having them then take charge of directing / presenting is a good idea, especially with such limited time. Then again, some people might have preferred to stick with looking down the lens rather than standing in front of it.
The whole time, I had Mysterious Object at Noon in the back of my mind. Although the films produced for Centred do not tell a coherent story, I hope that one day the result of the workshop will be a kind of patch-work of whatever event had been organised: a combination of direct feedback and personal response, plus ideas for the future. And I also hope to achieve some of the anarchic pleasure of A Mysterious Object.