Fanny and Johnny on Acid

Year of release: 1990
Original format: U-Matic video (4.3)
Running time: 9 minutes 45 seconds
Screening format: digital screening versions available
Credits: A film by Kayla Parker and Stuart Moore
Distribution and sales: Sundog Media
Archive U-Matic tape held in Videoteca de la Fundación Provincial de Cultura, Cádiz

In a small suburban house it’s 2am, and Fanny is in the kitchen preparing fish. But what for? Things aren’t quite as they seem. In this internal aquarium world, time and perceptions distort. A surreal food fantasy in which a series of bizarre rituals with fish call up an aquanaut from the Deep.

Production notes
We borrowed a video camera and portapack to shoot on. Our favourite filming location was under the pier at Phoenix Wharf between the Barbican and Plymouth Hoe, on a rising high tide. All the interiors were shot in the living room of the tiny terraced house on Beaumont Avenue (owned by Bernard Samuels, then Director of Plymouth Arts Centre) in the early hours of the morning after we’d got back from a night out. The pair of mackerel I juggle and tenderly put to bed was bought on the fish stall at Plymouth Pannier Market, and the gloves are my own. The aquanaut was multiple reflections of the figure of Stuart, appearing out of the darkness from the back yard. For the edit, we paid 20 quid to hire an MX10 video mixer (with its Time Base Correction feature) for a day from Exeter Film and Video Workshop, so we could overlay some of the visuals. I went up to Exeter and back on the bus one day to pick up the mixer, then returned it via the train the next day. In a review of the 1990 screening at VIPER in Switzerland, the soundtrack was described as being by industrial noise group Test Dept. In fact, the soundtrack was composed by us. We made our field recordings on cassette using a Sony Walkman Pro, and then did a 2 track mix on the 2 machine Lo-band U-Matic edit suite that was locked away in a room on the first floor at Plymouth Arts Centre, following the closure of the Plymouth Video Workshop the previous spring. We let ourselves in, taking care not to stand on the creaky floorboard, edited the film very quietly over a post-production period of several days, and then secretly made our Lo-band U-Matic screening copies before leaving the building.

Publication and comments
Review of the VIPER screening by Nik Houghton, Independent Video. The film was well-received by the VIPER audience in Luzern, but from the title I think people expected it to be sexy rather than a performance with fish… Fanny (Cradock) was the ‘bon viveur’ TV chef, and the nuanced meaning of the film title was intentional.

Exhibition selected
Frame by Frame Plymouth Arts Centre, UK. Solo exhibition (16 November to 23 December 1994)
Faint Frontiers Windows Arts Centre, Bath, UK
Underground Happening Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth, UK
Bristol Community Festival Ashton Court, Bristol, UK
Stuff of Dreams Bristol, UK

Ashton Court Festival Creative Video and Electronic Arts Marquee, Bristol Community Festival, Ashton Court, Bristol, UK. The Electronic Arts programme featured six short films by Kayla Parker: Cage of Flame, Fanny and Johnny on Acid, Looks Familiar, Night Sounding, Nuclear Family, and Unknown Woman.“...showcasing the most exciting, creative and innovative new film and video in the South West. Over the weekend the programme will provide wider exposure for a range of rarely-seen experimental works which challenge and shift our perceptions of video art” (programme notes) (7 and 8 August 1993)

5emes Rencontres Video Art, Realisateurs Indépendants Anglais programme, which also included George Snow’s Muybridge Revisited, Centre d’Art Contemporain de Basse-Normandie, Herouville Saint-Clair, France (28 November to 1 December 1991)
International Video Festival: International Videoworks Competition programme, Cádiz, Spain (September 1991)
Cidade de Vigo II Festival Internacional de Video, Vigo Spain (22 to 26 January 1991)

WRO 90 Sound Basis Visual Art Festival, Wroclaw, Poland (3 to 9 December 1990)
SCAN+ 5th Australian International Video Festival, Paddington, New South Wales, Australia (2 to 11 November 1990)
13th Tokyo Video Festival Japan (November 1990)
VIPER ’90 International Film und Videotage Luzern, Switzerland (23 to 27 October 1990)
On the Make Watershed Media Centre, Bristol, UK (July 1991)
Fringe Film and Video Festival Edinburgh, UK (1990)
Glastonbury Festival,Vision Vortex, UK (June 1990)
C.I.C.V. Festival Videotheque, Montbeliard, France (1990)
IKAROS Aarhus, Denmark (1990)