Malcolm LeGrice 

(1940) is probably the most influential modernist filmmaker in British cinema. LeGrice's work has explored the complex relationships between the filmmaking, projecting and viewing processes.

Malcolm LeGrice started out as a painter in London in the early 1960s and turned to filmmaking in the middle of the decade with the Super-8 film China Tea (1965), which he followed with Castle 1 and Little Dog For Roger (both 1966), made mostly from re-worked found footage. Castle 1 can be seen as prophetic: for screenings of the film in 1968, LeGrice hung a light bulb next to the screen, flashing on and off at regular intervals and, when on, obliterating the screen image, a practice used in Martin Creed's Turner-prize winning installation some 35 years later.


In the '60s his work was informed by the radical politics of the period in opposition to the Vietnam War and US cultural imperialism, and extended to a deep hostility towards the 'illusionism' of Hollywood and other commercial cinemas. This tendency was particularly manifest in Spot the Microdot or How to Screw the CIA (1969), which includes found footage of GIs in battle. But LeGrice's approach to cinema was also animated by a modernist impulse to put the central focus on the properties of the medium itself, turning them into the 'content' of the work. For instance, in White Field Duration (1972-73), a white screen marked only by a scratch running across clear celluloid, activates an intense perception of projection time. This film was also performed as a two-screen event and LeGrice's installations at times extended to four or even six screens. From the late-sixties onwards, his multiple screen work was often accompanied by live performances interacting with the projection event (Horror Film 1, 1971 and Horror Film 2, 1972).


LeGrice's best and most complex work was done in the '70s when, in the face of an intense hostility towards narrative cinema manifested by some of his avant-garde colleagues, he made a trilogy - Blackbird Descending (1977), Emily (1978), and Finnegans Chin (1981) - which elaborated a critical kind of storytelling in which both the formal aspects of cinema and the very structures of narrative are explored in relation to each other: The films are set in the film-maker's own domestic environment and achieve a combination of intellectual and aesthetic intensity rarely seen in any kind of British cinema. LeGrice also engaged with art history (After Manet, 1975, After Leonardo, 1973) and with the pioneers of cinema (After Lumière, 1974 and Berlin Horse, 1970) - in which he included a re-filmed Hepworth film of 1900, The Burning Barn).


In addition to being a prolific filmmaker, LeGrice played an influential role in the critical and institutional promotion of avant-garde cinema in Britain. He was a prominent activist in the Drury Lane Arts Lab, where he formed Filmaktion with William Raban, Annabel Nicolson, Gill Eatherley, Mike Dunford and David Crosswaite, and organised mixed-media shows. He was also a pioneer in the educational domain, initiating the trend towards establishing filmmaking sections in art colleges, a policy that bore fruit in the 1980s as new generations of filmmakers emerged from these courses. He is also an inveterate polemicist: his book, Abstract Film and Beyond, provides both a historical and a philosophical context for the British and European avant-garde cinemas, and he has contributed regularly to the journal Studio International.


LeGrice carried out the first experiments with computer-based film making in Britain (Your Lips 1, 1970), and though it was a preoccupation that he laid aside after 1971, it came to dominate his media practice (along with research into digital art) from the 1980s onwards. Since 1997 he has headed the media research programme at Central St Martin's art college in London, accompanying his activities with critical-historical reflections.


Source: Screenonline



Malcolm LeGrice, political, london, multi projection


Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen (1994) by French critic and composer Michel Chion reassesses audiovisual media since the revolutionary 1927 debut of recorded sound in cinema, shedding crucial light on the mutual relationship between sound and image in audiovisual perception. (Colombia University Press)

Notation. Calculation and Form in the Arts (2008) is a comprehensive catalogue (in German) edited by Dieter Appelt, Hubertus von Amelunxen and Peter Weibel which accompanied an exhibition of the same name at the Academy of the Arts, Berlin and the ZKM | Karlsruhe. (ZKM)



APB - All Points Between (2001) was a live audio visual performance by The Light Surgeons. An feature length performance which skipped around the world through a series of capsule narratives and audio visual tracks. It combined and remixed original documentary material (including the short films Thumbnail Express and The City of Hollow Mountains) wth DJing and a multi screen presentation involving video, slides and 16mm projections. (The Light Surgeons)

Audio.Visual - On Visual Music and Related Media (2009) by Cornelia Lund and Holger Lund (Eds.) is divided into two sections: the first deals with the academic discussion on the subject of visual music; the second introduces contemporary paradigms of audio-visual praxis in brief presentations and contextualises them. Apart from being a guide in the historical sense, this new volume provides theoretical approaches to understanding and making visual music. (Fluctuating Images)

Paul Sharits (2008) edited by Yann Beauvais. Known primarily for his experimental cinema and pictorial works, Paul Sharits developed an oeuvre that evolved around two central themes: one, closely related to music and the world of abstraction, the other, within the psychological and emotional arena of the figurative. This complete monograph, drawn from a recent exhibition, explores the connections between these two practices, and in addition provides a general introduction to a remarkable body of work. Illustrated throughout, the monograph also includes several essays, texts by Paul Sharits and interviews. (les presses du réel)

Hy Hirsh (1911-1960) was born in Philadelphia. He lived in Los Angeles between 1916 and 1937, and began working with still photography in 1932, according to a curriculum vitae he prepared in 1961. He worked as a motion picture cameraman between 1930 and 1936, moved to San Francisco in 1937, then to Europe in 1955 where he spent the last years of his life in Amsterdam and Paris. (Cindy Keefer: "Hy Hirsh Preservation: History And Mystery" in "KINETICA 3: Abstraction, Animation, Music - Featuring Hy Hirsh and the Fifties - Jazz and Abstraction in Beat Ear Film", Los Angeles, 2001)

Franc Aleu (1966) is a visual artist resident in Girona, Spain specialized in video for opera-theatre and special events. He is the director of URANO, production company in Barcelona and a frequent colaborator of the theater group La Fura dels Baus. (Franc Aleu on Vimeo)