๐Ÿฆ‰ All Creatures Great and Small  ๐Ÿ

Continuing the thoughts raised in User-Friendly, this programme focuses on the small; and is in part inspired by an interview with an angry dog, and the two things that made this dog angry. The first was that museums are showing video transfers of films (such as MoMA – and currently Tate Modern – showing Andy Warhol’s 16mm Screen Tests on video): “They should screen film as film, and video as video, and Andy made those as films!” shouted the dog. His second was in response to “all these big big spaces” in museums, which made the dog question: “Suppose I make a little piece of art, like something little, you know, something personal. Where would I put it? It would disappear on these walls”. Throughout this, the dog’s interviewer, Hans-Ulrich Olbrust, recorded the angry dog on his smartphone – a little, personal video in itself – until the dog (a 94 year old Jonas Mekas in a rubber dog mask) leaves the room, and with Mekas' return he recalls the dog’s message: “I want to celebrate the small!”

This screen, your screen, is small. But it is not “The Small Screen”, reserved for television, which is something different. Our screens are even smaller screens, on our desks, laps, and in our hands and pockets. This is a more personal and familiar screen, with its own qualities that are not of “the small screen”, nor equally of “the big screen”. In recent years society has begun to forgo the big in favour of the smaller, as Instagram posts, YouTube uploads, and Netflix Exclusives thrive, while cinemas struggle to put bums on seats. There is a desire for the small, though one that should not counter or reject the big. Cinema remains an essential platform for the viewing experience of many wonderful films that can accommodate and warrant the big and immersive escape of cinema; something the small and smaller cannot, and do not necessarily intend to. These videos, which may appear out-of-place on the big screen, find their home here on the smaller, where the intimate, personal, and familiar can be celebrated.

Small Adventures, Sony Xperia XZ2 (II), Clapton, London, 16:30 01/03/2020, Amy Dickson

Top:Bombyliidae (Bee-fly) 2019, smartphone, 2019, Chris Atherton
Bottom:Bombyliidae (Bee-fly) 2020, smartphone, 2020, Chris Atherton

Burrowing Owl Nest Cam, 2015, Sam Easterton

Jackdaws Roosting, SD video, ISTANBUL, October 22, 2011, Liza Bรฉar

At sundown, a chorale of roosting jackdaws vy for position high up in tree branches surrounding the Fatih Mosque in northwest Istanbul, while on the ground below feral cats and black-clad human beings go about their business; three intersecting life forms.

Praying Mantis (From Animal Studies), Japan, 2016, Guy Sherwin

Midges, iPhone 7 plus, 26/03/20, Jamie Jenkinson

Top: Selected Instagram Post, smartphone, Portwrinkle, 2019, Emma Harry
Bottom: Selected Instagram Post, smartphone, Mallaig, 2019, Emma Harry

Fish Tank, iPhone, 2016, Deniz Johns

Frog, 25 Seconds, 2013, Savinder Bual

This final work in this programme Kleep toowit, klip klip, too-ow-wit doesn’t fit the description above, shot on 16mm on a hefty bolex and transferred to video. It would be better seen projected as film and arguably in a cinematic space. However this of course has its limitations in terms of access and becomes impossible in this time of lock down. Acknowledging this it is great to be able to share it and include it in this programme, not only is it a beautiful film but it seems refer to each of the other videos in the programme; holding a space a step behind them, observing the personal observer observing, the observation station, the quiet and patience, the lone runner, single cyclist; it watches us watching and listening, and reveals that personal space and connection between human and nature.

Kleep toowit, klip klip, too-ow-wit, 16mm film digital transfer, 2018, Maria Anastassiou