One of our largest commissions in recent times has been to produce a set of video installations for the Cutty Sark, which was closed to the public in November 2006, with the intention of its being reopened early in 2009. The first phase of the work, which involved the creation of a triple-screen piece for the ship’s temporary pavilion, was installed at Easter 2007. Three weeks later the ship suffered a devastating fire, which led to the temporary cessation of work on this project. In January 2008 the Cutty Sark Trust was granted additional funding, from the Heritage Lottery Trust, which meant that the work could be resumed, with the result that last spring we shot a short film on the production of tea in China. Further work for the Trust is scheduled for 2009.
We have continued to develop our relationship with the cellist Neil Heyde & with the Kreutzer String Quartet, whom we have filmed performing works by Stravinsky, Lutoslawski, Ligeti & Michael Finnissy. Our work with Neil has included the well received DVD Electric Chair Music, based on Time & Motion Study II, for Cello & Electronics by the avant-garde composer Brian Ferneyhough - see ‘Productions’ for details - & Acrylic Variations, a half-hour film featuring the synaesthetic paintings of artist Mark Rowan-Hull, produced in response to musical improvisations by Neil and the virtuoso oboist, Christopher Redgate. We have also been making audio recordings with members of the Kreutzer Quartet at Wilton's Music Hall, the most recent of which feature music by Mozart, Bartok, Ligeti and Mendelssohn.
Our work in the field of poetry has included Companion of Angels: A Celebration of William Blake, an experimental piece commissioned by the City of London - see ‘Productions’ - & a short piece with the poet & novelist Iain Sinclair, based on his John Clare book Edge of the Orison. In the autumn of 2007 Colin went to St Petersberg with director/academic Sara Jolly to shoot a pilot for a proposed film on the Russian poet Anna Akhmatova. In addition we have continued to work – slowly, & without funding – on our trilogy of American films, on Robert Creeley, Jerome Rothenberg & Michael McClure; work on the latter (Abstract Alchemist of Flesh) has included filming sections of the poet’s once controversial play The Beard, as well as interviews with Ray Manzarek (co-founder of The Doors), Dennis Hopper, actor Peter Coyote & the composer Terry Riley. The good news as we come to the end of 2008 is that we have found a sponsor for this film, which is likely to be completed & released early in the new year.
A year ago we recorded a tribute to the poet Bill Griffiths, who died 13th September 2007. This recording, which features archival readings by Bill himself, as well as a host of friends & fellow poets, including Geraldine Monk, Will Rowe, Clive Bush, Alan Halsey & Harry Gilonis, is available on a double CD from Alan Halsey: firstname.lastname@example.org, price £12.00.
Two pieces of work which have just been released are Proximity, a fifteen-minute film documenting the making of a large steel sculpture by the artist Ian Tyson – see ‘Productions’ for an excerpt – & Cracked Goddess, a film on the work of the American sculptor Amy Evans McClure. This short piece, with words by Michael McClure & music by Terry Riley, can be seen in its entirety on this site – see ‘Productions’.
While working in China Colin produced a portfolio of forty photographs which have recently been exhibited at Wilton’s Music Hall & at the Blackheath Halls in London, with plans for further showings in 2009. In the new year we intend to add a photographic section to this website. Here, meanwhile, is one of the China pictures, Interior with Bicycle, Guanxi Province.