Into The Mothlight is a podcast dedicated to artists’ moving image, experimental film and festivals and installation art.
Presented and produced by moving image artist Jason Moyes - Into the Mothlight gets inside the minds of the artists, curators and film festival people he meets. His gentle style of interview leads to a non-academic and inquisitive exploration of creative processes, approaches to research, journeys into the world of film curation and key moments their own adventures with the moving image.
You can listen to the podcast on this page, and also listen and download it from Spotify and ApplePodcasts. We will also share images, links and information on the people we talk to for each episode.
If you can support us and help us continue to give moving image artists a platform to discuss their work please visit our Patreon site here. By donating you will also give people interested in experimental film, festivals, installation art and the moving image the chance to hear from new and established artists.
Now, step into the mothlight - best listened to in the dark.
Producer and Presenter.
This time on Into the Mothlight Podcast an in-depth interview with the London based artist filmmaker Sarah Pucill. Her films have been shown in galleries and won awards at Festivals internationally. The majority of her films take place within the confinements of domestic space, where the grounded reality of the house itself becomes a portal to a complex and multi layered psychical realm. In her explorations of the animate and inanimate, her work probes a journey between mirror and surface, in which questions of representation are negotiated.
A limited edition Blu-ray release of Sarah’s acclaimed artists’ feature film Confessions to the Mirror has just been released by Lux. In this work she extends the study she began in her previous film Magic Mirror (2013) responding to surrealist artist Claude Cahun’s writing and photographs through tableaux vivants that re-stage her images and words.
In our conversation we discuss both Confessions to the Mirror and Magic Mirror and the process of using the medium of film to bring life and colour to Cahun’s text and images. We also talk about her earlier works, her love for photomontage and the process of animation and her exploration of the interior world in her films.
You can purchase Confessions to the Mirror at the Lux Shop here. Click here to read “A Dialogue with Claude Cahun: Between Writing, Photography and Film in Magic Mirror and Confessions to the Mirror,” a chapter from Sarah's book Cinematic Intermedialities, published by Edinburgh University Press, Ed Marion Schmid and Kim Knowles.
Sarah's recent masterclass on her longer films can be viewed here.
Portrait of Sarah Pucill by Laura Milburn.
Artists and works referenced in the interview.
The Slade - School of Fine Art in London
Filmmakers Jane Parker, Liz Rhodes and Chris Wellsby who had an early impact on Sarah at the Slade.
London Filmmakers Coop - we recommend this book by Mark Webber.
The American Underground filmmaker, occultist and writer Kenneth Anger
The Scottish artist Douglas Gordon who Sarah studied with.
French philosopher Gaston Bachelard’s book Poetics of Space.
Briefly mentioned, the British feminist film theorist - Laura Mulvey
Sharon Morris - Professor of Fine Art at the Slade
Lover Other (2006) - the Barbara Hammer documentary on Claude Cahun
The Lizzie Thynne documentary - Playing a Part: The Story of Claude Cahun (2006)
Gen Doy who had mentioned Sarah in a book Claude Cahun: A Sensual Politics of Photography (2007)
The tableau vivant in Derek Jarman’s Caravaggio
Tableau Vivant in Looking for Langston (1989) - by Filmmaker and installation artist, Isaac Julien
Sarah's late partner Sandra Lahire whose Sylvia Plath trilogy of films inspired her to work with an earlier artist.
The Blood of a Poet by Jean Cocteau (1932) and The Maya Derren film Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) that both feature shots where the antagonist looks directly into the mirror.
The Artists’ Moving Image Festival (AMIF) was established in 2012 to provide a platform for the discussion and presentation of artists’ moving image, showcasing forms of production and research alongside screenings and discursive events. This year the festival has been co-programmed by artists and writers Tako Taal and Adam Benmakhlouf and includes a series of screenings and events scheduled to follow the lunar calendar across the rest of 2021. The event is hosted by LUX Scotland in partnership with the international art-space Tramway in Glasgow.
In this episode we hear from LUX Scotland Director Kitty Anderson on the artists' moving image scene in Scotland and how LUX have supported artist over the last year. Tako and Adam share their experience and approach to programming the festival and reflect on one of the works they have selected.
You can read the essay Adam wrote on Christian Noelle Charles for MAP Magazine here.
SUPERLUX is LUX Scotland’s membership scheme, a national initiative that supports Scotland-based artists and arts professionals to develop more sustainable practices through professional development events, networking, skills development and training. SUPERLUX is currently free to join and also includes the offer of One-to-One Advice Sessions for artists living and working in Scotland.
GIVE BIRTH TO ME TOMORROW continues in June 2021 - follow LUX Scotland for updates.
LUX is an international arts agency that supports and promotes artists’ moving image practices and the ideas that surround them. Founded in 2002 the organisation builds on a long lineage of predecessors including The London Film-Makers’ Co-operative, London Video Arts and The Lux Centre.
Benjamin Cook is the founder director of LUX and LUX Scotland. He has been professionally involved in the independent film and visual art sector in the UK for the past 25 years as a curator, archivist, producer, writer and lecturer.
In this episode of Into the Mothlight we’ll be looking at the role of Lux and how they support artists working in the moving image. In my chat with Benjamin Cook we touch on the history of the organisation, the collection of works they look after and the importance of being able to access some works online. We also talk about the 1-2-1 advice sessions that Lux delivers for artists and the Lux Critical Forum - discussion groups for artists who work with the moving image to talk about ideas and practice.
In the interview we mention:
Legendary London cinema The Scala
London Film-makers’ Coop - read about the first decade of the organisation here.
Menelik Shabazz - Award winning UK film director, producer, and writer – a key pioneer in the development of contemporary black British cinema.
London Video /Electronic Arts - their role in the distribution and promotion of video art from 1976
not/nowhere - artist workers’ cooperative supporting new media practice
The 1969 David Hall film ‘Vertical’ that I remain obsessed with.
One-on-One artists' advice sessions run by Lux, and their monthly critical forum.
Kim Knowles has been writing and teaching about experimental film for over 15 years and currently lectures in Alternative and Experimental Film at Aberystwyth University in Wales.
She curates the Black Box strand of the Edinburgh International Film Festival. A programme described as “Daring, challenging, uncompromising and thought-provoking” with short and feature-length experimental and artists’ films from around the world.
In EP.27 we discuss her journey into experimental film and the screening when she fell in love with the experience of watching 16mm film projected in a cinema. We talk about her militant defence of photochemical film, materialist film, her experience attending The Independent Imaging Retreat (Film Farm) in Canada and lecturing in Alternative and Experimental Film at Aberystwyth University in Wales.
Kims latest book 'Experimental Film and Photochemical Practices' has just been published by Palgrave Macmillan, and available to purchase here.
Artists, works and texts mentioned in the interview.
Entr'acte - a film by René Clair (1924)
Loretta - a film Jeanne Liotta (2003)
The experimental filmmaker Joel Schlemowitz, based in Brooklyn who working with 16mm film, shadowplay, magic lanterns, and stereographic media.
Jennifer Reeves - the New York-based filmmaker working primarily on 16mm film
Experimental Filmmaker and Executive Director of Film-Makers CooperativeMM Serra who we interviewed for EP.26 - listen here.
Paul Sharits - an avant-garde filmmaker noted "for manipulating the film stock itself to create a variety of fascinating, abstract light and colourplays when projected on the screen"
Peter Gidal's introductory essay to the Structural Film Anthology, Published by the BFi in 1976.
The American visual artist Carolee Schneemann
Pip Chodorov - filmmaker, composer, writer, curator. Co-founder of filmlab/collective L’Abominable, founder of Re:voir Video.
Frédérique Devaux - filmmaker and lecturer - work distributed by Light Cone.
The Ethical Presenter: Or How to Have Good Arguments over Dinner - article by Laura U. Marks (2004)
The Future of Nostalgia by Svetlana Boym (2002)
Residual Media by Charles R. Acland (2006)
BEEF - Bristol Experimental Expanded Film - listen to our interview with this collective here.
New books recommended by Kim.
Cinema Expanded: Avant-Garde Film in the Age of Intermedia - Jonathan Walley (2020)
Making Images Move - Handmade Cinema and the Other Arts - Gregory Zinman (2020)
Artists’ Moving Image in Britain Since 1989 - Erika Balsom, Lucy Reynolds, Sarah Perks (2019)
Women Artists, Feminism and the Moving Image – Lucy Reynolds (2019)
London's Arts Labs and the 60s Avant-Garde - David Curtis (2020)
Experimental and Expanded Animation - New Perspectives and Practices - Vicky Smith and Nicky Hamlyn (2018)
In this episode we talk to MM Serra down the line from NYC.
MM Serra is an experimental filmmaker, curator, author, educator and the Executive Director of the Film-Makers' Cooperative, the world's oldest and largest archive of independent media.
She has produced, directed, and edited more than fourteen works. Her own work, as well as her curated programs, have been screened at the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of the Moving Image in New York, The Centre Georges Pompidou and the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris, the London Film Festival, Oberhausen International Short Film Festival and the Dresden Film Fest in Germany.
We jump around from topic to topic and along the way discuss her friendship with Jonas Mekas, the influence that Shirley Clarke had on her, and the importance of living and breathing the life of a film-maker. We discuss some of MM’s films including Bitch Beauty (2011) and Enduring Ornament (2015) both are available to view on her website.
In this episode I read from excerpts of a text written by Jonas Mekas on the formation of the Film-Makers’ Cooperative, you can read the full text here.
There is no doubt that I have mispronounced some of the names of the artists mentioned in the piece written by Jonas Mekas, apologies in advance for this…..
Transit Arts have been organising the exhibition of artists moving image since 2015, through public screening programmes and experimental publishing. It is run by the Glasgow based curator and writer Marcus Jack, who is also currently researching histories of artists’ moving image in Scotland.
His first exhibition of artists moving image came from the back of a transit van and a series of popup screenings across Glasgow. He has curated numerous screenings since then in Scotland and the North of England, he is also on the submissions panel of the Glasgow Short Film Festival.
His written work includes an essay entitled Seizing The Mean of Projection where Marcus considers thirty years of artists’ moving image exhibition in Glasgow.
The latest project from Transit Arts is DOWSER which Marcus describes as “a series of newly commissioned essays, interview transcripts and archival materials which makes available, for the first time, a collated set of resources from which we might begin to plot a history of artists’ moving image in Scotland.”
In the interview Marcus mentions numerous artists, moving image works, exhibitions, spaces, groups and screening events. I have listed some of them here, with links where possible.
Elizabeth Price - User Group Disco (2009)
The Otolith Group - Hydra Decapita (2010)
Artists’ Moving Image Festival (AMIF) -
Mount Florida Screenings - Glasgow (2016-2018)
Deborah Stratman - Chicago-based artist and filmmaker
Amie Siegel - film, photography, performance and installation artist
Jorge Jácome - Flores (2017)
David Hall - TV Interruptions (1971-2006)
Tamara Krikorian - pioneering video artist and curator
Video: Towards defining an aesthetic - a Scottish Arts Council exhibition held at the Third Eye Centre, Glasgow 1976
Richard Demarco - Artist and promoter of the visual and performing arts.
Transmission Gallery - artists run space in Glasgow
Flourish Nights - film screenings (2001-2003)
Stephen Partridge - Dundee artist and academic researcher
Enrico Cocozza - Amateur film-maker and academic
The Glasgow Miracle: Materials for Alternative Histories - archive sources relating to the Third Eye Centre (1975-1991) and CCA (1992-the present)
Common Culture - Book Launch (2007)
Malcolm Dickson - Now Director at Street Level Photoworks
The Open Eye Club - Glasgow (2005 - 2008)
The filmmaker Mark Jenkin is best known for the film Bait from 2019, which earned him a BAFTA. However as you will hear in this episode of Into the Mothlight Podcast, the journey that led to him creating this outstanding film is a long and interesting one. We look at this journey from his early days making a Derek Jarman inspired music video, to his time in the production houses of Soho in London, to his return to his native Cornwall and his debut feature, "Golden Burn" which won The Frank Copplestone First Time Director's Award at the Celtic Film and Television Awards in 2002.
In the week that Mark should have been wrapping on his latest feature ‘Enys Men’, a folk horror inspired tale set on a fictional island off the coast of Cornwall, we met online and also talked about shooting on and hand processing analogue film, his filmmaking manifesto, his experimentation within the form in cinema, and his work as Associate Lecturer in Film and Moving Image at Falmouth University.
But we start , as mentioned, at the beginning of this journey and his first experiences with a super 8 camera.
Some of the items of interested Mark mentions in the interview:
‘London’ from The Smiths, B-side to ‘Shoplifters of the World Unite’ from 1987
‘The Garden’ film by Derek Jarman (1990)
‘The Queen is Dead’ music video from Derek Jarman - read more on the FLAMIN / Film Film London site
The UK filmmaker / Director Jonathan Glazer
‘The Surfer’, the iconic TV advert for Guiness from 1999.
EPK’s - Electronic Press Kits
‘Projections - A Forum for Film Makers’ published by Faber
‘The Story of Film: An Odyssey’ by Mark Cousins.
Cinematographer Peter Smithson
‘The Lighthouse’ by Robert Eggers (2019)
Kodak TRI-X Reversal Film - a high-speed, panchromatic, black-and- white film suitable for general interior photography with artificial light.
'Bait' is available from the BFI Player's Subscription service, and on DVD and Blue-Ray from the BFI shop here.
Karel Doing is an independent artist, filmmaker and researcher, his films, performances and installations have been shown widely. In 2017, he received his PhD from the University of the Arts London in Animation, Interactive, Film & Sound. In his thesis he proposed “new forms of humility, doubt and listening to be advanced in today’s over-confident and exploitative human culture.”
In recent years his work has revolved around experimenting with a new organic process he calls Phytography - a technique that uses the internal chemistry of plants for the creation of images on photographic emulsion. He has delivered numerous workshops on this, sharing the technique and supporting people to use the process. He has developed a website dedicated to this work and has just released online workshops that people can access during the lockdown.
His website in rich with information, research, stills, recipes with instructions and some photographs and videos showing work produced during the various workshops Karel has delivered to share the technique.
The works we focussed on during our chat are available on Vimeo and include The Mulch Spider’s Dream (2018), Liquidator (2010) and Meni (1994)
We also discuss his 2019 project 'Bog Myrtle and Flamethrowers', created during an artists residency with Alchemy Film and Arts. You can see images from his workshop and read more about the exhibition on the Alchemy website here. During the interview Karel also makes reference to:
Derek Jarman’s film Angelic Conversation (1985)
AVE Festival (Audio Visueel Experimenteel)
The film director, editor and producer Jürgen Reble
The expanded cinema group Metamkine
Film director Joost Rekveld
EMAF - the long established German based European Media Festival
The Sound Artist Michal Osowski
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.
Into the Mothlight is sponsored by The Film and Video Poetry Society.