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UAL Research Online

A Hidden History

Curtis, David (2007) A Hidden History. [Show/Exhibition]

Type of Research: Show/Exhibition
Creators: Curtis, David

‘A Hidden History’ was a screening and illustrated talk, introducing a twelve part season I curated for the National Film Theatre, presenting a history of experimental film in Britain.

The screenings ran in parallel to two exhibitions I also curated for the BFI Southbank gallery and BFI Library. These displayed journals, posters and other documents directly related to the history underlying the film selection.

The season contained many rare or rarely screened works; 'Burnham Beeches' (1909), Walther Ruttmann’s 'Opus' 2-3-4 1923-5 and Percy Smith’s 'The Strength and Agility of Insects' 1911, with newly commissioned scores by David Cunningam.

The concurrent exhibitions provided historical reference materials as context for the screenings. For example, the first exhibition included documents related to the Film Society and reflected the multiple origins associated with artists' film and video including throw-away fliers from the 80s, artists' notebooks, sketches and storyboards, and photographic documentation of exhibitions and other artist-led events from the 30s to the present, while the second included posters relating to artist-organised exhibitions and a display of Filmmakers Co-op Programme notes from the 60s and 70s.

Additional Information (Publicly available):

David Curtis

Research Interests

History of British artists' film & video, History of international artists' film & video, Curating artists film & video, Public funding of the arts.
History of British Experimental Film, document and describe the development of experimental film and video in Britain. Study collection of videotapes, and paper documentation of British artists. AHRB funded, exhibitions and conferences

Current Research

I joined CSM as a Senior Research Fellow researching the History of British Experimental Film within the programme of the AHRB Centre for British Film and television Studies. My main concern is to document and describe the development of experimental film and video in Britain, its individual artists, its institutions, and the cultural and funding context in which it has taken place. A major research project has been the assembly of a Study Collection of videotapes and paper documentation covering the work of over 700 British artists. This has been based on donations from the Arts Council of England, the ICA and many individual artists. The Collection is open to researchers and actively supports and initiates exhibition and publishing projects. Another research stand has been building of the first comprehensive database of film and video works by British artists, currently containing 6,000 titles. This is the beginning of a major project supported by the AHRB to build an online resource to support academic research in this area.

My own curatorial research has resulted in a major display at Tate Britain - A Century of Artists' Film in Britain (May 2003-May 2004). My research is devoted to uncovering the histories of artists' film and video in Britain, and recording and documenting them in various forms. I lead the team that is building a Study Collection at CSM devoted to British artists' work that is available to internal and external academic and curatorial research. This is the only collection of its kind in the UK and its files already contain a substantial proportion of the history of the 'key' artist-led organisations, such as the London Filmmakers' Co-op and London Video Arts. The Collection is funded by the AHRB and forms part of the multi-partner AHRB Centre for British Film and Television Studies. The Collection includes tapes of artists' works, writings by and about artists, institutional documents, books, catalogues, posters etc. Building this Collection and encouraging its use forms a major research strand, to which PhD and MA research is contributing. The Collection website (built by colleague Steven Ball) is at www.studycollection.org.uk and contains catalogues of the collection, a historical database of artists and works, and temporary on-line exhibitions. My personal research has resulted in exhibitions such as A Century of Artists Film in Britain for Tate Britain (2003-4) and its website/catalogue www.tate.org.uk/britain/artistsfilm and the forthcoming book A History of Artists' Film and Video in Britain 1897-2003, BFI Publishing, October 2005.

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Central Saint Martins
Date: 15 May 2007
Event Location: National Film Theatre and British Film Institute, Southbank
Locations / Venues:
LocationFrom DateTo Date
National Film Theatre15 May 200731 August 2007
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2009 09:21
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2010 10:20
Item ID: 1085
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1085

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