Thursday, November 25, 2010

Next few dates

A new date just added on Wednesday 1st December at the Royal College of Art's Work in Progress Show.
Thursday 2nd at lab in Bethnal Green, London.
Friday 3rd at the Deutsche Bank Headquarters in Liverpool Street, London.
Saturday 4th in Brighton with Cine City.
and Monday 6th at Camberwell College of Arts.
Last but not least, huddersfield University on wednesday 15th December.
Bookings still being made for early 2011 - if you are interested in helping us run a workshop in your town please contact us by - cheers!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mailing list

Due to an unforseen technical hitch we have lost our mailing list - if you signed up to receive e-mails from us and haven't already received an e-mail please do get in touch at Many thanks!

Sunday 21st November at Chisenhale Gallery

We felt very honoured to be running a day at the esteemed Chisenhale Gallery in London which was organised for us with the help of Alex Crouch at Deutsche Bank.
The Chisenhale is based near Victoria Park in Mile End and Bow which is where Chris lived for two years during his studies at the RCA, many of his films being made there. This made the day even more special and we were thoroughly enthused by the steady flow of people who came through the doors and interacted with each other as much as the project.
We were very looked after and we even have a dedicated page for photos and a video of the results of our workshop on the Chisenhale website here.  Thanks Chisenhale!

Saturday 20th November at Picture This in Bristol

We took part in the Encounters Film Festival in Bristol at the prestigious Picture This Gallery on saturday 20th november. It was particularly great for Jo as she was able to hang out with her sister and nine month old baby Cleo who is pictured in the photographs above - seemingly the artistic genes have kicked in early and Cleo is giving her Aunt a lesson in the analogue techniques employed by Brakhage and Lye, or maybe she's just having fun colouring in. What do babies dream of anyway?
We were thrilled to be holding the workshop in the same space as the brand new exhibition by Ben Rivers which opened the night before our arrival and had a steady flow of people coming to take part throughout the day. One of our favorites was Keisha, a four year old superstar who squealed the gallery down when she realised her drawings were what she was seeing projected when she took part in a live loop as shown below. A great day. Thanks Bristol!

Sunday 14th November at Leeds International Film Festival

Mark and Jo live in Leeds and Chris lived there for eight years so this date was a bit of a homecoming gig for us and it certainly didn't dissapoint. 

We were part of the excellent Leeds International Film Festival which is truly a gem in the festival circuit and lasts for three weeks every year as a public (not industry) festival meaning the screenings are as inclusive and economical as possible. We were part of Cherry Kino's programme which is curated and run by our friend Martha Jurksaitis who previously was part of EXP24 with Mark, Jo and Chris and were given an excellent gallery space all to ourselves at Gallery 42 next to local haunts, North Bar and Sela Bar.

We were well attended all day with a great number of our friends coming to visit. Particularly great participants were the Davies family where all five members of the clan were able to add their and add their  own section to the film. Deborah's  Naughty Neighbour blog reviewed the day very favourably here and it was a pleasure to spend so much time with such a great family and the day's film results were fantastic.
We were also aided by a great write up before the workshop by  Leeds'  culture blog which certainly helped us in being so well attended. Readers of the invaluable cops and robbers messageboard were also high in attendence. Thanks to Claire Circuit for all her help in this!!!

We ended the day by attending the Constellations  festival where a special installation of Chris's video work had been created to be shown alongside bands such as Liars,  Four Tet and Les Savy Fav.

Thanks Leeds - you never disappoint!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Saturday 13th November at the National Media Museum in Bradford

Straight on to Bradford where we were part of the Bradford Animation Festival at the National Media Museum. We were able to get a great curry at Mumtaz (where the Queen has eaten don't you know!) and set up in the museum. We were pleased to find we were to be situated in a highly visible space by the Cubby Broccoli Cinema which allowed for many passers by to be interested enough to take part and also that we were working with an old friend from Leeds, Rose Borthwick. This day was amazingly productive and we had to stick down an entirely roll of film because the participants had used so much.
We met great local people as well as those who made it down specifically for the animation festival and finished the workshop with a full screen projection in the Cubby Broccoli Cinema that was nearly full to capacity with an audience full of the film's makers.

After this brilliant workshop we were able to roam around the musuem where, asides from enacting the skydives and a fist fights with Teletubbies by using the blue screen interactive exhibits and got all excitable about retro-cameras in the Kodak Gallery, we pictured ourselves with a giant map of Britain to illustrate our efforts to go from John O'Groats to Land's End. Thanks Bradford - this was another great day.

Friday 12th November at Huddersfield at Verve Bar

Chris, Kelvin and Jo ran this workshop that was put on by local enthusiast Russell D Hunter who had previously attended an OKO workshop in Bradford at the Impressions Gallery in June. His enthusiasm was very encouraging for us and we met great locals, including Russell's kids who sat and drew on the film for a couple of hours in Verve bar.
We made more film than we expected and even had a suprise visit from Chris's parents who drove over from Rotherham especially. Russell was a great host and even joined us two days later at our date in Leeds - thanks Russ, it was a pleasure!

9th and 10th of November at The Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre

Our friend Rebecca Davies, who graduated with Maria and Chris at the RCA in July, had asked us in the summer to be part of her week-long residency at The Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre in London which had finally come around.

Rebecca has studied the area for over two years as part of her graduating work which documented the region through illustrated and documentary work and set up in the shopping centre in an empty unit, a space to facilitate and exhibit the work of artists concerned with the regeneration of its community - the blog for which is here.
Asides from our two workshops there were screenings of new work by Altermodern exhibitor Marcus Coatesand Blight by one of Chris's favorite film makers John Smith. If you've never heard of John Smith then you are really missing out on his humorous and enetertaining but pointedly sophisticated films that engage the viewer through conventional documentary or narrative formats but subvert them into deeply sophisticated  investigations into the nature of the relationship between the viewer and the viewed. One of his most celebrated works The Girl Chewing Gum is viewable as an extract here but is also available on the Cinema 16 DVD and an anthology of his work is soon to be released on DVD by LUX.
The people who dropped by and took part in our workshops were full of character, warm and friendly with a great deal of appreciation for what Rebecca had took it on herself to do. It certainly validated Rebecca's work as a study of a community and its inhabitants and has perhaps encouraged her to delve even further into the Elephant.
Big congrats Becca - this was a big success.

Sunday 7th November in Falmouth for Cornwall Film Festival

So as soon as the BFI was done - Chris, Maria and her boyfriend Chris Jones, caught a train straight away to get to Falmouth. A few rail replacements were in occurence but we were lucky enough to have first class travel provided for us by the festival which was great. We got a chance to walk round Falmouth at night and drink real cornish ale.

Our workshop was set in Falmouth Art Gallery which became instantly exciting as we realised we were to be holding the workshop in the main gallery space - surrounded by works and prints by Picasso, Hockney, Gavin Turk, Henry Moore, and Roy Lichtenstein. The collection is fantastic, as is the gallery's curator Brian Stewart, who regularly rotates the works in the space to the extent that, after taking a like to chris's postcard of his video piece The world at your feet (III) he  asked if he could aquire it into the Falmouth Art Gallery Collection which Chris agreed and was displayed immediately!

The ethos of this award winning gallery to be as inclusive as possible without talking down to its attendees made it a perfect setting for our workshop.
So you are as likely to find an original illustration of Bagpuss or a Spitting Image puppet as you are a Renoir painting. There's also an incredible selection of automatons  like the picture to the left which kids seem to love.

We had a huge amount of people through the doors all day which was awesome - the gallery even opening on a Sunday just to hold our workshop.
We had experienced film makers and students from Falmouth Art College as well as young children and families and had a lot of fun in the process.
The final film was great and we were even given popcorn by Brian who was infectiously enthusiastic throughout the day.
We were sad to leave as, although we were tired from all the travelling of late Falmouth was a brilliant date on our schedule.

Saturday 6th November at the BFI Southbank

Back as a full group of five we headed to the BFI Southbank - perhaps our most prestigious venue on the tour. We had booked in at the BFI as early as May and we see it that our contact, David Somerset, and his teams' support from an early stage, helped us strengthen our original Deutsche Bank proposal to such a degree that we had the confidence to win the award.
So this was a special workshop for us and it wasn't to dissapoint. We were situated in the workspace - a hugely visible glass tank of a room just behind the bar and in view of the box office so we were able to collect many passers by throughout the day.

Our participants were noticeably studious - creating exceptionally detailed figurative and abstractly patterned animations with scratch techniques and permanent markers. Jo made a great hand-drawn sign that we were able to project onto whilst creating live loops - so entertaining our younger Unravel-ers whilst attracting people in. We loved the day and were especially thrilled to be linked with the Essential Experiments strand of the BFI's programme which was showcasing the work of one of our heroes and biggest influences - Len Lye.

Lye was a New Zealand born artist who pioneered some of the very first hand painted film techniques and was even employed by the G.P.O Film Unit of the Post Office during the 1930's and '40's under the tenure of John Grierson who also commisioned amazing short films like Harry Watt and Basil Wright's Night Mail and the hilarious The Fairy of the Phone by William Coldstream.
We regularly introduce people to Lye's work for the first time which is a great part of our touring process. If you have never seen his work check out his work here or on the side panel of reference films to the right of this text but really you should support the distribution of his work and buy the DVD or the BFI's excellent collection of films that Grierson commisioned at the GPO here, here and here!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Friday 5th November at Sheffield Doc Fest

So whilst Chris and Maria slept, or attempted to sleep, through an eleven hour sleeper train from Inverness to Euston, Mark and Jo had their own OKO led workshop at Sheffield Doc Fest. Although this was a short  workshop the results look amazing and we'll be telecining and posting all of the workshop results on-line as soon as possible. Chris was particularly gutted to be missing the only workshop booked in South Yorkshire so far - his home county so maybe we'll try and sort something out again for the new year.

Sheff Doc Fest was a major date on our schedule and the entire programme was distributed for free with the Guardian newspaper a week before so hopefully a few of you heard about us that way. Please e-mail us at for any queries as we are still booking dates around the country for the new year.

Thursday 4th November at Inverness Film Festival

Now just operating as a twosome of Chris and Maria due to to Kelvin's work commitments at Salford University we took in the amazing sites of another three hour train ride form Edinburgh to Inverness  through the Highlands - apparently the most sparsely populated area of Europe. Amazing scenery that reminded Chris of his stay in Iceland in September.
And so we finally arrived in Inverness, our most Northern city on the tour so far and our last date in Scotland. The people here were so polite and we even got picked up from the station to our guesthouse. Inverness Film Festival at The Eden Court is essentially programmed by one man, Paul Thompson, who oversees and introduces the entire festival and it had a great line-up especially in Paul's insistence to show Scottish Shorts before every film in the programme and we enjoyed Ruth Paxton's Paris/Sexy.
For the workshop we were positioned right by the front entrance to the Eden Court where hundreds of school kids on their way to see an educational event about the opera taking place there was held. We also met Georgina Coburn who wrote a great article about us and the whole festival here.
We'd have loved to have stayed longer but had to get the eleven hour night train from Inverness to London. If we had stayed we'd have definitely gone to watch the special performance of Blood of A Poet by Steve Severin of Siouxsie and the Banshees. Maybe next time... goodbye to Inverness and goodbye to Scotland (for now)...

Edinburgh at the Forest Cafe

We were able to get an extra date in during our time in Edinburgh thanks to our very good friend and exceptional host for the next two nights, Rachel McCrum  who is working for Craft Scotland - a great organisation who work with designer/makers, galleries and retail outlets to support them in building and sustaining audiences. Rachel has been one of our biggest supporters since we won the Deutsche Bank Award and it was great to hang out with her in her new neighborhood in Edinburgh.
So, under Rachel's suggestion, we approached the Forest Cafe an organisation that incorporates much of Edinburgh's rich cultural activity with a great vegan and vegetarian cafe and offers workshops, film nights, a huge gig venue, and a social centre for anyone and everyone. It was very easy going and we met some very interested and intersting individuals throughout the afternoon followed by a big screening before the night's acoustic gig. The Forest is currently under threat and there is an appeal to try and buy the venue, collectively, so as to maintain its activity. For more information click here. 
Edinburgh was beautiful especially around Holyrood Park, but next up Inverness, so far North that Chris know has to question his Northerner status, coming from Rotherham.

Edinburgh at Africa in Motion Festival

We were treated to a night in a very fancy guesthouse and set up residence in the Filmhouse - a brilliant old cinema that has maintained a film guild for over seventy five years and we were lucky to be in the Guild Room which displays a lot of this rich history on its walls. 
We had a fantastic crowd, from possibly our youngest film maker at three months old to an experienced Kenyan animator making beautifully crafted shoals of fish. 

Africa in Motion is a film festival showcasing films made in Africa in Edinburgh and was celebrating its fifth year at the Filmhouse this year.
We also got to see some of there films and really enjoyed The Silver Fez.
 Another great day on the tour.