Cutting edge

Artist’s residency at Plymouth Arts Centre

Turn back the clock; we’re locked into Greenwich Mean Time for the next 6 months.
16.16 BATTER STREET Gavin sitting up in the projection room getting ready for the Sunday evening screening. Whir of central heating pump, faint keyboard. Dry fruit and sawdust smell.

Same as Saturday, but a banana and the clementine left over from yesterday

The keys to the door/s - where they fell

THE MEASURE: Empty frames circle my head [SOMEONE PRACTISING ROCK GUITAR MOVES BELOW] Sunlight sinks down the chimney pots; gulls cruise around in the golden light. I catch their flight on the strip of 16mm film with a scalpel blade and move to the lightbox to scratch in frame edges using my child’s plastic ruler. [DRUMS KICK IN WITH AN UP-TEMPO BEAT]

frame 16 scratch and blow the screech of the blade blend with the mewling gulls, as I scrape away sections of the black [BLACK SABBATH GUITAR INTRO “Finished with my woman...”] Paranoid

16.50 EAT BANANA then walk back to the window: two gulls over Sutton Pool [POWER CHORDS] I’m expecting the guitarist to break into the Buzzcocks’ Ever Fallen in Love. Gavin comes in to fill up his kettle.


17.16 [PA PA PAPAPAPA PA PA!] The cinema opens: trailers from the left; electric guitar moved position, now from below and affecting my stomach.

17.27 put the light on in Studio One; sound recording 2 min 8 seconds a few bars of syncopated, chopped strumming [one-and two-three] plus soundtrack to John Woo’s Red Cliff [AARGH! URG!] I’m working on the film in a fairly abstract way, keeping it the ‘right way up’ ie working down the frames from top to bottom; using the marks I made at the window as my guiding ‘sketch’.


frame 36 [TWO CARS CRUISE OVER THE COBBLES, DOWNHILL] the activities are harmonious, film soundtrack [SQUEAKING DOOR]; whoever is in Deep Blue Sound this evening is pretty quiet and doesn’t bang the doors [FLUTE] The only talking is the dialogue in the film.

17.59 [SQUEAKING DOOR. A WOMAN’S VOICE, IMPLORING. A MAN“S HARSH STACCATO REPLY. THE WHINNY OF A HORSE. JAUNTY FLUTE MUSIC] frame 42 there is the sense of something having begun, me sitting in semi-twilight over a lightbox, working on a strip of 16mm film [SMELL OF CIGARETTE SMOKE WAFTS IN] building up a new repertoire of marks and moves. This morning I dreamt of a steam train, puffing along a curved track through a high plateau of grassland.

18.08 frame 49 my attention on the strip, a pool of blurred light in the soupy gloom, eyes slightly defocused, using (remembered) movements of fingers and hands to manipulate the cutting edge of the blade on the smooth/scored surface of the film.
Colour photo of lightbox with banana skin, plastic ruler, scalpel and strip of 16mm film
18.20 frame 58 [SQUEAKING DOOR, TWICE. AND AGAIN] Things stripped down to a single side, a cut, a rhythm, white/black, on/off, silence within a basket of sound, no talking.

The keys to the door/s - where they fell

18.44 frame 72 pack up and upload