In 2021 Andrew Black was the twelfth recipient of the £15,000 Margaret Tait Award Commission, Scotland’s most prestigious moving image prize for artists. The film he went on to make was 'On Clogger Lane' which is the focus of this episode.
"Named for an old road, now submerged beneath a reservoir, On Clogger Lane meanders through the Washburn Valley in Yorkshire. It explores the infrastructures of capital on land overshadowed by a monstrous surveillance station, flooded and dammed, haunted by accusations of witchcraft, and populated by the traces of many generations of past inhabitants – from prehistoric carvings to the Victorian graves of child labourers.
The film incorporates newly-recorded conversations with Sylvia Boyes, Anne Lee and Lindis Percy, local women who have been involved in opposing the activities of RAF Menwith Hill, an American-run signals intelligence base - and British and US imperialism in different capacities - over decades. Further contributors are local people whose connections to the Washburn Valley tell complex and interlinked stories of industrial exploitation, social history and folklore - farmers, antiquarians, dowsers, grandmothers, Quakers and communists. These oral histories are accompanied by an experimental score, including music by Leeds improvisational band Vibracathedral Orchestra, synthesised medieval English song, and archival sound and film from the Yorkshire Film Archive.
On Clogger Lane explores the meeting points of passivity and protest, public and private, past and present, all coincident in the same patch of ancient land."
The Margaret Tait Commission is a LUX Scotland commission delivered in partnership with Glasgow Film, with support from Creative Scotland.
It is inspired by the pioneering Orcadian filmmaker and poet Margaret Tait.
The community film that Andrew talks about making on Skye is Dàn Fianais or Protest Poem.
Read about RAF Menwith Hill on the Yorkshire Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament here.
We mention the additional editors Andrew brought in to finish the film, they were Daniel Hughes and Jen Martin.
The colour was by Daniel Hugues, sound by the composer Richy Carey, mixed by Composer & Sound Designer Mark Readhead.
Andrew Portrait by Matthew Arthur Williams.
Experimental film and installation artist Jason Moyes lives and works in rural Scotland and has been exploring the moving image since 2007. His work has been shown in the UK, North America, Europe and Asia. He is a founding member of the Moving Image Makers Collective.