In 'Contact' female actors and students explore affectionate gestures of attachment. Beginning by touching hands with hands, in a way that draws on depictions of closeness in cinema, the women’s interactions become increasingly creative as ‘Contact’ aims to depict, and imaginatively extend, the kind of bodily inventiveness often witnessed between attached people. Conversations with the actors about their experiences of performing attachment, and of making ‘contact’ with other actors in film and theatre productions, overlay or disrupt the footage of their interactions with the students. ‘Contact’ creates a dialogue between the representation of close relationships in visual culture and the political potential of reframing creativity between attached people as forms of collaboration and agency.
'Contact' was produced with the support of an AHRC Cultural Collaboration Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award. Based in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds, my partner for the production of this project was Pavilion, visual arts commissioning organisation in Leeds.
Actors: Martina McClements
University of Leeds BA Fine Art Students:
Cinematographer: Dave Lynch
Camera Assistant: Lauren Pissochet
Camera and Sound Assistant: D'arcy Darilmaz
Editing: Claire Hope
Editing Support and Grading: Dave Lynch
Venue hire: Cardigan Centre, Leeds
Woodhouse Community Centre, Leeds
Project funded by:
AHRC Cultural Collaboration Post-Doctoral Award at the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies,
University of Leeds
Claire bases her commissioned moving image work for Gallery II, Bradford on the generic group photograph. Yet in this staged work, how the group behave and are viewed by the camera, also how we as viewers feel about them becomes increasingly unpredictable. The work draws on emotional extremes common to contemporary media’s reality shows, competitions, not least cinema and web-based media – which may invite a powerful empathy towards those we watch - as often as a ‘judging’ coldness. Where such extremes seem to amplify wider attitudes in social life, like valorising love or achievement, in this moving image work affection and assessment become the poles around which the formal and promotional group photograph is depicted. But the contrast between these imagined portraits, and the way the camera treats the group, seems to invite different sorts of action and interaction.
Actors: Alyson Marks, Carmen Martorell, Ross Newell, Sarah Oldknow, Kesh Sharma
Cinematographer: Will Simpson, Omni Pictures Ltd
Studio: Omni Pictures Ltd, Leeds
Equipment & Installation: Lumen Arts Ltd, Leeds
Direction and Editing: Claire Hope
This is the online version of 2013 moving image work 'Stacy's Risk' (the first 8 minutes of the full 18 minute duration). In the video a casually dressed female interlocutor speaks to and about the central character in, and analyses the narrative and themes of ‘Stacy’s Knights’, a 1983 feature film about a female gambler. This film becomes the context for an interwoven discussion of shyness, gambling, financial speculation and the representation and experience of women. Yet this interlinked investigation of four key themes in contemporary life is suspect, not least as it is rooted in fictional material, and a limited range of ‘available’ research sources. What is factual and invented becomes blurred in this critique of the authority of informative or impartial presenting rooted in a deterministic popular narrative.