By P. Gaal-Holmes
This entire old account demonstrates the wealthy range in Seventies British experimental filmmaking, appearing as a sort of reclamation for movies and filmmakers marginalized inside of validated histories. An integral publication for practitioners, historians and critics alike, it presents new interpretations of this wealthy and various background.
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Extra resources for A History of 1970s Experimental Film: Britain’s Decade of Diversity
Curtis sheds some important light (and I will quote in full) on how these issues were also of concern to many 1970s and 80s artists and experimental filmmakers: [F]ilm remained the responsibility of the education department, with only rare excursions into the territory by the exhibitions and collections staff over the next two decades. One apparent obstacle was the Tate Trustees’ decision only to collect works published in limited editions. To many artists, the idea of a limited edition of films was anathema; film’s infinite reproducibility was one of its attractions, offering an escape from the trap of the unique, therefore materially valuable art-object, also making film a conceptually purer and (arguably) more democratic medium […] The Arts Council, which saw purchasing works for its Collection as a primary means of Questions of History 23 supporting living artists, similarly failed to include film and video till the mid-1990s.
While the LFMC was one of the main workshops for the kind of filmmaking discussed here, not all experimental filmmakers were affiliated to it; and it is useful to understand its location within the wider framework of other oppositional/independent practices, particularly as these all sought financial recognition from government funding bodies. Complex issues which related to who was responsible for funding experimental film – the ACGB or the BFI – resulted in the Attenborough Report (1973), helping to resolve distinctions between different types of filmmaking.
This flawed myth, problematically privileging formal investigation over others types of experimentation, has offered a biased account of events. Evidence to dispel this claim and inconsistencies within some written accounts are provided in order to highlight problems with the ‘return to image’ thesis and how this argument has been perpetuated since the early 1980s. Historiography and history through curation While the study of history is a long-established discipline, more recent approaches raised in the late 1960s by historical theorists such as E.