Helen Petts is a British artist film-maker who for the last 5 years has concentrated on working within the experimental and free improvised music scene both, in the UK and in mainland Europe. Her work has been screened in various film festivals and she also has a Youtube site - helentonic - devoted to showing this work plus live performances. youtube.com/helentonic
She runs Mopomoso free improvisation night in London with guitarist John Russell, which gives her great access to many musicians from all over the world. She says she is interested in filming the music itself and the moment of improvisation rather than just documenting the performance. This can result in extreme close-ups of abstract textures and rhythms.
In 2012 she completed a film following the route of artist Kurt Schwitters, who escaped Nazi Germany to live on Hjertoya island near Molde in Norway and then to Ambleside in the British Lake District. This film, entitled “Throw Them Up and Let Them Sing” a term used by Schwitters to describe how he created his work, was a commission for the Cultural Olympiad – the arts festival of the 2012 Olympic Games. This film features improvised sounds and images from Turner and Minton as well as Sylvia Hallett and Adam Bohman. It was shown in the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle 28 June - 18 August in a solo exhibition alongside Schwitters' Merzbarn Wall, the Royal Festival Hall, London 31 August - 9 September, Abbot Hall Gallery, Kendal alongside their Schwitters' collection 15 September - 19 November. and Tate Britain as part of the Schwitters in Britain exhibition events. If you would like to see this work which is on a private link, send an email for the password to firstname.lastname@example.org. It will next be screened at the Trøndelag Senter for Samtidskunst , Trondheim, Norway 22-27 August 2013.
Helen Petts is now working on a film about saxophonist Lol Coxhill for the Full of Noises Festival in Cumbria.
Helen Petts would like to acknowledge the support of an Arts Admin fellowship in development of this work and the Arts Council of England Unlimited programme for funding for the Schwitters film.