STEWART HOME: FILMS (1986-2016)
Spectacle is pleased to present a survey of artist Stewart Home’s moving image works on the occasion of his cult classic, Defiant Pose, being put back into print by Penny-Ante Editions. Named the “Best Book of the Year” in 1991 by The Gay Times, today Chris Kraus describes Home’s “proto-porn pageantry” as “timely (and) timeless… a satirical masterpiece, as funny twenty-five years later as when it first appeared.” With STEWART HOME: FILMS (1986-2016) it is our hope that those familiar and unfamiliar with “cult writer” Stewart Home will gain new insight into his artistic practice.
AN EVENING WITH STEWART HOME – FRIDAY APRIL 7 – 7:30 PM
SCREAMS IN FAVOUR OF DE SADE – FRIDAY APRIL 21 – 7:30 PM
SHORT WORKS – SATURDAY, APRIL 8 – 7:30 PM & FRIDAY, APRIL 28 – 7:30 PM
Copies of Defiant Pose will be available at the screening on the 7th.
STEWART HOME is an English artist, filmmaker, writer, pamphleteer, art historian, activist, and internationally-acclaimed author. Home’s writings include Pure Mania (Polygon, 1989), Defiant Pose (Peter Owen, 1991), Slow Death (Serpent’s Tail, 1996), 69 Things To Do With A Dead Princess (Canongate, 2002), Tainted Love (Virgin Books, 2005), and Memphis Underground (Snowbooks, 2007). Between 2007 and 2010, Home was the commissioning editor of Semina, a series of acclaimed experimental novels from London art publisher Book Works, to which he contributed, Blood Rites of the Bourgeoisie (2010). In 2013, Stewart Home released Mandy, Charlie & Mary-Jane (Penny-Ante Editions), named one of the “Best Paperbacks of the Year” by the Guardian, followed by The 9 Lives of Ray The Cat Jones published by Test Centre in 2014. He was born and continues to reside in London. (www.stewarthomesociety.org)
AN EVENING WITH STEWART HOME
FRIDAY APRIL 7 – 7:30 PM
*ARTIST IN ATTENDANCE – ONE NIGHT ONLY*
Stewart Home will be hosting and speaking on a selection of past short works such as TV FREAK and BAKED BEAN JUNKIE GROSS OUT, as well as his latest, 2016’s RE-ENTER THE DRAGON.
Copies of Defiant Pose will be available at the screening.
RE-ENTER THE DRAGON
dir. Stewart Home, 2016.
UK. 41 min.
In RE-ENTER THE DRAGON, Stewart Home uses found cinematic imagery and a dissociated soundtrack influenced by 1950s Lettrist cinema as a means of exploring cultural hybridity. The genre of martial arts films known as ‘Brucesploitation’ is theoretically dissected while onscreen an actor hyped as ‘the Bruce Lee of the Philippines’ explodes into action. ‘Brucesploitation’ deployed underhand marketing devices such as using actors with stage names including Bruce Le and Dragon Lee, to trick the unsuspecting into thinking they might be watching a film by Bruce Lee, a man who died before most of these super-cheap exploitation flicks were made. RE-ENTER THE DRAGON is where action cinema has a nervous breakdown and discovers that hypermasculinity inevitably finds itself tipping over into the feminine.
SCREAMS IN FAVOUR OF DE SADE (2002)
dir. Stewart Home, 2002.
UK. 72 min.
FRIDAY, APRIL 21 – 7:30 PM
English language color remake of Guy Debord’s avant-garde classic from 1952. Like the original this film has no images, but whereas Debord’s consisted of black with silence and white with dialogue in French, Home employ black with silence and TV color bars with dialogue in English. The original dialogue is translated and in a number of places also rewritten. However, while Debord had five voices reading his script, Home uses one voice with an additional spoken indication of which voice is speaking.
The periods of blackness and silence in Debord’s film are strictly adhered to, with the final twenty four minutes being entirely black and silent. Although Debord never explained his original film in this way, Home’s intention is to transform cinema in theatre, turning the audience into actors rather than treating them as passive spectators. If this is the case, then it should matter little to viewers whether they watch Debord’s original or Home’s remake, what’s important is what happens amongst the audience, not what is on screen, which in a classical gesture of avant-garde iconoclasm is essentially nothing.
STEWART HOME: SHORT WORKS (1986-2004)
dir. Stewart Home, 1986 – 2004.
UK. 85 min.
SATURDAY, APRIL 8 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, APRIL 28 – 7:30 PM
A survey of past short works by Stewart Home, including 2004’s THE ECLIPSE & RE-EMERGENCE OF THE OEDIPUS COMPLEX. Full screening list is as follows:
1986, 4 min.
“This is an edit of a durational piece made in May 1986, which originally lasted one hour and only had incidental ambient noise on the soundtrack. It is more hardcore ‘art’ as it was originally made but this is the YouTube generation recut 21 years down the line. Other hour long durational pieces made in the eighties include a fabulous video of Pete Horobin and I taking afternoon tea that begins with a five minute static shot of the table before we sit down at it. We really knew how to make fun films back then… I love them, but YouTube doesn’t carry hour long works, so you got this instead. My song on the soundtrack was also composed in the eighties, although this particular version was recorded in the nineties. But this static record of my head being shaved from a curly mop sums up the eighties for me. Immediately prior to this a friend in Hackney used to do my hair for me, and she also worked on Mel & Kim’s barnets (so I met them a couple of times before they were famous when I headed down to Shakespeare Walk to get my hair cut)… and since I first put this up I have been getting a lot of comments about how much Britney Spears looks like me… don’t forget I did this 20 years before her…” (Stewart Home)
I WANNA DIE IN THE TV
1986, 1 min.
The screen is pure surface, it has no depth, and where there is no life there is no death….. The voices on the soundtrack belong to Stewart Home and Pete Horobin
1986, 2 min.
“An oldie but goldie video piece from May 1986, but this is the length I always intended it to be. Looks just about perfect to me now I’ve added the titles, which I didn’t manage at the time I made it 21 years ago.” (Stewart Home)
BAKED BEAN JUNKIE GROSS OUT
1986, 7 min.
“The avant-garde art of boredom taken to new extremes back in 1986! A Neoist anti-classic! I performed for the camera and immediately after shooting I recorded the voice over in one take, sounding about as sincere as a snake oil salesman. Pete Horobin shot this and nearly all the edits are in camera because we didn’t have free access to proper edit suites at the time and tried to minimize whatever time we paid for. Any visual edits we made to what we did were crashed between a domestic machine and the camera, cruder than editing Super 8, hence our preference for in camera editing – and not even a master of multi-tasking like me was able to perform and simultaneously do in camera editing. That said VHS film was cheaper to the superior looking 8mm celluloid and enabled us impoverished dole queue ‘aesthetes’ to shoot a lot more ‘film’. As a result we didn’t title this piece or much other material at the time, the titles and credits were added just before I put this up here, but the rest of the visuals are exactly as we left them 21 years ago. I didn’t bother showing this anywhere at the time, but on reviewing it recently I realized I was making YouTube type shorts a couple of decades before most of you; it just looks different because we had clunky VHS cameras then, not digital… but the ‘spirit’ is the same. And please note the sacrifices I make for aesthetic effect; I even drink a can of Coke in this (well it looks like I did, but actually I poured the crud inside the can away and replaced it with water – couldn’t have got away with that using a bottle). And dig the Wm Low baked bean tin, a supermarket that could be found around Scottish north east back in the eighties but that disappeared a decade or probably more ago…” (Stewart Home)
1988, 5 min.
By Stewart Home, Andy Hopton, Art In Ruins, Denise Hawrysio, Ed Baxter and Simon Dickason at Galleriet Läderfabriken Malmö, October-November 1988.
“Note the sound on this was played at volume on a tape loop throughout the show; the lighting was ambient and while this couldn’t be captured on camera, video effects were used in an attempt to replicate this. Please note that the quality reflects both the video technology of when this was done (1988) and tape decay (the colors have faded considerably and there are other faults). It is presented here as a historical artifact to give something of the flavor of the site specific installation work I was doing in the eighties.” (Stewart Home)
TURN ON, TUNE IN, FREAK OUT
1989, 13 min.
Made with Neil Aberdeen, featuring Stefan Szczelkun, Gabrielle Quinn, Dick Arlen.
1993, 4 min.
Promo video for short story collection “No Pity” by Stewart Home (AK Press, 1993), made with Nick Abrahams and Mikey Tomkins and featuring music by Bloodsausage
1994, 7 min.
Promo for Stewart Home novel Red London made with Nick Abrahams and Mickey Tompkins in 1994. Digitized from a VHS copy.
UT PICTURA POESIS
1997, 1 min.
“This was made as part of the Arts Council funded Blipvert Project in 1997, so it was one of six commissioned pieces cut into the ads at independent cinemas and was seen in that context by an audience of something like three quarters of a million people. It was shot at 50 Beck Road in Hackney (since I appear in it, Nick Abrahams was operating the camera) and edited at Artec at Highbury Corner. It was intended for cinema screening and the ‘alienation effect’ that is integral to it doesn’t work outside that context, so it is placed here as a curiosity. This was an attempt to distill the lettrist cinematic experiments of the early 1950s (and in particular the feature length pieces “Has The Film Already Started”, “Anti-Concept” and “Screams In Favour Of De Sade”) into 45 seconds. Proletarian post-modernism lives on…” (Stewart Home)
THE ECLIPSE & RE-EMERGENCE OF THE OEDIPUS COMPLEX
UK. 41 min.
Made by Stewart Home while in Melbourne as visiting artist at the Victorian College of the Arts in May 04. In the movie avant-garde techniques and the avant-garde obsession with death interweave with reflections on the life and death of his mother Julia Callan-Thompson. Images of his mum working as a fashion model and club hostess during the sixties are cut against and at times deliberately dissociated soundtrack that uses stories about her to explore the limits of documentary cinema. This is simultaneously an expression of love and loss and an attempt to draw out the ways in which the avant-garde Lettrist cinema of the early fifties in France was commercialized in the later work of Godard, Marker and Resnais.