10th May 2018
Hey, my name is
I’m writing this from my kitchen in West London, it’s -1 outside and snowy!
I make films mostly, I feel like ‘film director’ is the best description, yet the film industry doesn’t suit the way I work. The way I work is more like an artist, big focus on ideas and politics – but then eventually it’s all about storytelling and psychology.
For me to direct actors there needs to be a lot of conversation/open dialogue about the meanings being expressed. I feel that cinema has become a cult of coercion and mystique, and what is really needed is clarity and conversation. Work can be mysterious but I feel like I have to know what is at stake.
Fassbinder says “revolution doesn’t belong on the cinema screen, but outside, in the world… my goal is to reveal such mechanisms in a way that makes people realize the necessity of changing their own reality”
Baldwin says “I can’t be a pessimist, because I’m alive”
Grotowski says “I do not put on a play in order to teach others what I already know… Any method which does not itself reach out into the unknown is a bad method”
Acker says “I’m far better able to cope, far more wanting to laugh… I worked it through literature, I changed myself”
ON YOUR TERMS
On Your Terms is my latest film. I’m just finishing the edit. It’s about a student called Saskia who pays her rent by working for a freelance ‘gig economy’ style app which monetizes ‘Emotional Labour’.
She’s like an Uber driver for people’s feelings. The film stars Penny Klein who delivers a really excellent performance and is a talented artist in her own right.
It was really great to make a project where I could use scripted scenes to explore a lot of the difficulties and grey areas that technology and precarity (both financial and emotional) create and which me and a lot of my friends have struggled with.
In Feb 2017 I joined The School of the Damned and then found out I’d gotten into the RCA (Royal College of Art). Doing them simultaneously has been a lot but I’ve learnt huge amounts about the limits of both. Here is a Venn Diagram
(see front page of riso)
IRL vs URL
I find that people tend to give more attention to online exhibitions right now. The UK art scene is so multi-versal but platforms like isthisit? and 12∅ have helped to connect things up.
When I walk into a gallery I often find it very hard to know how to engage whereas a good online show blends perfectly with the grammar of the internet browsing and communication experience.
I did an Instagram poll recently (@ralphpritchard) on whether people found it easiest to open up emotionally online or face-to-face and the results show about 1/3 of my audience prefer online. I’m much more comfortable face-to-face but I do augment a lot of my face-to-face friendships with quite personal online chat. My dissertation atm is all about whether it’s possible to ‘hold’ someone’s pain adequately without being physically present. Often when I’m making work online – related work it seems like a further reflection of this quandary – making visible something which is elusive, hard to grasp.
SHOW + TELL
Since 2014 I have had an ongoing practice of sharing a visual mixtape with friends and collaborators. It’s always been very important for me to share what I’m excited about with people – that’s the stuff that gives you energy – gets you moving. It’s really way to easy too get stuck on things you don’t like.
Show & Tells are typically a video compilation – around 20-50 mins in length – collecting and juxtaposing a range of film/news/TV/web clips mostly pulled from Youtube or DVD’s or torrents and added together often with a bit of my own footage. I’ve uploaded many of them to rp-st.tumblr.com
Currently thinking about the way self-help/care culture is so easily co-opted by right-wing thinkers like Jordan Peterson. How do charismatic people identify people’s needs and exploit them? How can we create structures for care and support which adequately reflect the love we want to give to the world in an anti-toxic/codependent/power-driven way xx
I’m currently reading: The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, a Dutch trauma clinician. I’ve watched a lot of Der Kolk’s lectures on youtube and he has an amazing approach. Recommended!
The new Laurie Anderson project Landfall, with the Kronos Quartet features an amazing 11-minute meditative track called ‘Nothing Left But Their Names’. Very moving post-anthropocentric audio journey – LA has a great skill for combining warmth and critical reflection.
I’ve just finished Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Dekalog series, a wonderful, historic series of 10 moral tales based on the 10 commandments. They’re subtle, undogmatic and tender. The 58 minute format is perfect, the 4:3 ratio 😍.