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2012 Highlights

Kyran Joughin

9 May 2012

Kyran Joughin

Kyran Joughin lectures in Film and Critical Practice at the University of the Arts London. She serves on panels at several international film festivals and she served time working at Compendium bookshop in CamdenTown many years ago. She lives in London and France.

Abstract: “I Look Up, I Look Down.”(James Stewart, Vertigo, Hitchcock, 1958)

Two ways of describing a place in town: Georges Perec and John Smith.

If you stand still for an hour in a city, what do you see?

Two examples: a writer, Georges Perec, in Paris, 1974 and an artist, John Smith in London, 1976.

Two kinds of playful exercise: the first takes an inventory and makes an essay, the second turns the inventory inside out and makes a film.

In “An Attempt to Exhaust a Place in Paris”, Perec sits in the Place Saint-Sulpice, 19 October, 10.30am and begins to log “what happens when nothing happens..except weather(le temps..time),people, cars and clouds.”

His list in time, of time, shifts into impression, exhaustion, a ‘chronoscope’.

John Smith ‘s “The Girl Chewing Gum”(1976, 11 mins), fixes a camera on a London shop front in an ordinary London street, and a voice-over starts to give direction: “I want the boy in the jumper to come in from the left…”

Which we quickly realise is a pretence. By playing with time, he turns what has happened into what will happen, and the observer becomes orchestrator of what he sees.

It’s short and also funny; possibly the only film featuring a van with ‘University of London, Senate House’ on the side.

One might be anthropology, one a kind of animation; they’re both just looking, or ‘looking at the overlooked’. And each poses questions to those who read and watch.