Tuesday, January 09, 2007

This is the Kind of Shit that Wins the Turner Prize

That's a great quote, no?
It's taken from Hector Castell's film of Graham Hudson's residency at Chelsea Parade ground, which regular readers will know was featured in this blog over last summer.
We are at Rational Rec at the Bethnal Green Working Mens Club for the first public screening of the film. Hector spent a lot of time on the ground and I'm interested to see how he has brought 6 months of building, rebuilding and partying down to 40 minutes of film.
There's a lot of footage of the Parade Ground itself, in various states of (de)construction and a few short interviews with some of the students who went out and built houses beside Graham's. But it's not until later that the film really picks up with some choice quotes from Graham, some neat bits of editing and some great interviews from the auction night. That's where that quote from the top comes from. A girl, playing the role of devil's advocate, with a loud, shouty voice that could do nicely on a Channel Five youth programme, is interviewing buyers and onlookers in the midst of the auction, goading them with talk of 'junk' and 'shit' and 'hype'. She does it very well. She speaks to Ben Borthwick, one of the curators at Tate Modern, who gives a brilliant interview - funny (actually hilarious in places - especially on the subject of his own laundry...), incisive, knowing and perceptive. Dave Hoyland appears too, walking round the parade ground with a microphone, mostly taking about how the work is really a way to meet girls....
Throughout the second half of the film there are some pieces to camera from Graham himself - digs at Tate Britain, which throughout the residency sat like a big, disinterested pompous lump beside all this adventure; an account of the Richard and Judy show and the Sharon Osbourne show coming to visit and Graham's attempt to undermine it all by presenting someone else to play the part of Graham Hudson, artist. He talks about the feature in The Times which leads to a visit from the local council to confirm that he isn't actually living there (he was, of course) and finally some off the cuff remarks that Hector was quick enough to catch: 'if we want to sit and drink beer and watch football then that's 100% part of the project...'

Most of the filming is hand held, or propped up against something. The sound levels are all over the place and the editing is hard and fast. But that's all ok - it matches the aesthetic and the sensibility of Graham's project perfectly. It's all rough and ready, and rock and roll. Graham and his crew come across as cool, sexy, arrogant, hip revolutionaries against the might of the indifferent art establishment, unafraid of anything (except, in one telling sequence, the groups of little fifteen year old kids who buzz thru on their bikes and cause trouble). It's a fantastic document of the time and I am always interested in (flawed, immediate, subjective, inaccurate, biased) historical documentation, as you know, so I find it all immensely satisfying. It's not quite Ken Russell's Pop Goes the Easel, but it's close...(read a snotty review of that particular documentary here)
I'm happy to say there's some excellent and gratifying footage of the piece that I bought (I loudly tell eveyone around the table at the screening this - and point, repeatedly).
As the girl says:
'This is the kind of shit that wins the Turner Prize.'
It's only a matter of time.


Post a Comment

<< Home