This is Now: Film and Video After Punk

Country: UK


This Is Now

Available for hire from August 2015

LUX is pleased to present This is Now: Film and Video After Punk, a major new touring project that looks at artists’ film and video from the post-punk era (1979–85). The project comprises seven screening programmes and is developed in partnership with the BFI National Archive.

In the early 1980s, clubbers, art students, New Romantics and members of the post-punk scene used inexpensive, domestic technology to find new modes of expression and subvert the mainstream media. Independent VHS tapes were released, stridently bypassing censorship, and Super 8 film was embraced as a cheap yet distinctly lyrical and direct new medium. The DIY approach of punk was powerfully reborn.

The period also saw new perspectives and voices emerge. More female, gay and black filmmakers pushed themselves forward and often they were friends; squatting flats, clubbing and developing new styles and techniques together. When not working with Derek Jarman, John Maybury and Cerith Wyn Evans led the charge amongst the Super 8 crowd, casting friends such as Leigh Bowery and Siouxsie Sioux in fragmented, dreamlike scenarios. Isaac Julien and Grayson Perry also made films as did major pop video director Sophie Muller in her early days. Meanwhile artists from the short-lived, but highly influential Scratch Video movement cut-up and transformed material appropriated from popular film and television to produce dense, rhythmic and often witty montages.

These programmes focus on work from the early 1980s that explore the blurred lines between media images and identity, creating new dialogues between the self and the world. It was an uncertain, politically contentious time; a time in which – very much like today with the internet – technology appeared to ease life, yet also created gaps between people. Artists considered what images and technology could mean and be in their fullest sense.

The majority of the Super 8 and 16mm films in these programmes have been out of circulation for thirty years and have only recently been digitally scanned at 2K and remastered. The project forms part of the BFI National Archive’s ongoing work to restore significant yet marginalised areas of historical British experimental film.

Curated by William Fowler, Curator of Artists’ Moving Image, BFI National Archive
Distributed by LUX


Performing the Self
New ways to think about identity, the self and the body were all part of punk’s powerful legacy.  These imaginative, diverse pieces show how artists played with ideas of performance, forging a dynamic new pop art film culture that was snappy, stylish and existential.

Still Life With Phrenology Head UK 1979. Dir Cerith Wyn Evans. 15 min
Human League: Don’t You Want Me UK 1981. Dir Steve Barron. 4 min
Chat Rap UK 1983. Dir John Scarlett-Davis. 15 min
Adam Ant: Prince Charming UK 1981. Dir Mike Mansfield & Adam Ant. 3 min
Adam Ant: Stand and Deliver UK 1981. Dir Mike Mansfield & Adam Ant. 3 min
Solitude UK 1981. Dir John Maybury. 11 min
The Modern Image UK 1979. Dir John Maybury. 13 min
Bungalow Depression UK 1981 Dir Grayson Perry & Jennifer Binnie. 3 min
The Private View UK 1981. Dir The Neo-Naturists. 13 min

Home Taping
The mainstream media was treated like a giant library to be plundered for provocative play and subversion in the early 80s. Whether filming their TV screen with a Super 8 camera or by deftly copying tape-to-tape, artists grabbed and juxtaposed disparate material to disrupt the dominant ideologies of the age and create new visual music. Includes notable examples of the Scratch Video phenomenon, including works by George Barber, Gorilla Tapes and the Duvet Brothers.

The Attitude Assumed: Still Life With Still Born UK 1980. Dir Cerith Wyn Evans. 20 min
Skinheads and Roses UK 1983. Dir Jill Westwood. 8 min
Pop Dolphin UK c.1983 Dir Jeffrey Hinton 18 min
Tilt UK 1984. Dir George Barber. 6 min
Branson UK 1983. Dir George Barber. 2 min
Blue Monday UK 1984. Dir Duvet Brothers. 4 min
The Commander in Chief UK 1984 Dir Gorilla Tapes. 4 min
Art of Noise: Legs UK 1985. Dir George Barber & George Snow. 7 min
Passion Tryptych UK 1982. Dir Cordelia Swann. 3 min

Just Images
The moral, political and symbolic integrity of the image itself is explored, attacked and undermined in these very richly textured films. John Maybury casts friends Siouxsie Sioux and David Holah in one of the singularly most stunning and ambitious Super 8 works of the era: Court of Miracles. Young filmmakers bring on the post-modern age.

Court of Miracles UK 1982. Dir John Maybury. 40 min
Glory Boysv UK 1983. Dir Vanda Carter. 4 min
Territories UK 1984. Dir Isaac Julien. 25 min
Psychic TV: Unclean UK 1984. Dir Cerith Wyn Evans & John Maybury. 9 min

** Please note that this programme may be subject to change.

Before and After Science
Grayson Perry, Anna Thew and Steven Chivers present stunning, lo-fi and strange new fictional worlds. In this programme, arcane beliefs, folk tales and a post-apocalyptic scenario shot in run-down London all provide welcome counterpoints to the rigidity of modern, patriarchal Christian society.

Lost For Words UK 1980. Dir Anna Thew. 25 min
The Green Witch and Merry Diana UK 1984. Dir Grayson Perry. 25 min
Men Without Hats: Safety Dance UK 1982. Dir Tim Pope. 3 min
Catherine De Medicis Part 2 UK 1984. Dir Steven Chivers. 25 min

Through a Glass, Darkly
Provocative filmmakers in the early 1980s treated the moving image like a mirror or a crystal ball; a surface of divination through which to probe inside their own mind and that of the viewer, evoking metaphysical journeys and challenging the limits of the body. This programme includes particularly, strong, challenging work that was originally connected to the industrial scene.

Shadow of a Journey UK 1980. Dir Tina Keane. 20 min
Lyrical Doubt UK 1984. Dir Judith Goddard. 16 min
Winter Journey in the Hartz Mountains UK 1983. Dir Cordelia Swann. 8 min
Liquid Video UK 1983. Dir Michael Kostiff. 10 min
All Veneer and No Backbone UK 1980 Dir Holly Warburton. 6 min
The Wound UK 1984. Dir Jill Westwood. 20 min
Grayson/Flowers/Jewels UK 1985. Dir Jennifer Binnie. 3 min

** Please note that this programme may be subject to change.

Video Killed the Radio Star
Early independent video releases were the revolutionary, DIY antidote to a TV system only just gearing up to a fourth channel. They bypassed censorship and gave a platform to the marginalised and unsanctioned. This eclectic selection includes a very rare John Smith title and punchy, stuttering Scratch Video works by The Duvet Brothers, Kim Flitcroft & Sandra Goldbacher, Gorilla Tapes and George Barber.Echo and the Bunnymen: Shine So Hard UK 1981. Dir John Smith. 32 min
The Miners’ Campaign Tapes: The Lie Machine UK 1984. 15 min
The Greatest Hits of Scratch Video Volume 2 UK 1984. Dir Various. 25 min

Entering the Dream Space
Weaving together film and video, often utilising religious imagery, and introducing colour, effects and surface texture, filmmakers generated a new, vividly transcendental style by the end of the post-punk era. Key examples of this sensual, visually mature work are presented alongside other dynamic pieces that explore the dreamlike state.

The Technology of Souls UK 1981. Dir John Maybury. 11 min
In Excelsis Deo UK 1983. Dir Sophie Muller. 24 min
Miracle of the Rose UK 1984. Dir Cerith Wyn Evans. 25 min
The Union Jacking Up UK 1985. Dir John Maybury. 18 min

More works by Various Artists

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