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Transmission: 72-82. A film by William Raban

Tue 24 Mar 2015 – Tue 24 Mar 2015 Transmission: 72-82. A film by William Raban (open )

Introduced by the producer of the film, Jonathan Harvey, and followed by a discussion

Chair: Sharon Kivland

72-82 is a one-hour film by William Raban commissioned by Acme Studios as part of its fortieth anniversary celebrations, following the archive exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery, Supporting Artists: Acme’s First Decade 1972–1982, September 2013 to February 2014. The film includes footage of performances and installations at the Acme Gallery documented by Raban, as well as extracts from his own films made at the time in East London. David Cunningham, who has created the sound for the film, was also part of this history. He was based at Acme’s Acre Lane studios, Brixton, home to experimental rock bands This Heat and Cunningham’s The Flying Lizards, and where a disused cold store was converted into a recording studio, ‘Cold Storage’. Through the layering of this archive material 72–82powerfully communicates this history and the spirit of that time, animated by the voices of artists and others who were part of the story, and whom Raban interviewed for the film: Kevin Atherton, Bobby Baker, Anne Bean, Stuart Brisley, Richard Cork, David Critchley, Richard Deacon, Fergus Early, Ron Haselden, Charles Hayward, Jacky Lansley, Jock McFadyen, Ken McMullen, Sandy Nairne, Simon Read, Claire Smith, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Anthony Whishaw, Alison Wilding, Richard Wilson, and Bill Woodrow.

About the series:

Transmission is convened by Michelle Atherton, Sharon Kivland, TC McCormack, Hester Reeve, and Julie Westerman, in collaboration with Site Gallery, Sheffield

Venue: Sheffield Hallam University, Pennine Lecture Theatre, Howard Building, City Campus, Sheffield S1 1WB Date/time: Every Tuesday from 4.30 p.m. to 6.00 p.m., followed by an open seminar discussion at 6.00 to 6.30, or an event at Site Gallery.

The lecture series is free and open to the public.

At the end of Gustave Flaubert’s great novel about love and history, A Sentimental Education, from which we shamelessly steal part of our title, the protagonist Frédéric Moreau and his oldest school friend Deslauriers reminisce about their adolescence. They remember going to a brothel together, the anticipation and excitement. Once there, thinking that the laughing prostitutes were making fun of him, Frédéric bolted from the place. But in the unconsummated experience, there lies the possibility of fantasy and happiness:

‘That was the best we ever got!’ said Frédéric.

‘Yes, perhaps so, indeed! It was the best time we ever had,’ said Deslauriers.

Could this be the model for learning how one becomes an artist: A lack of satisfaction that provides a drive? An expectation of knowledge that is never fully imparted? The imaginative reconstruction of the past?

We ask how artists become and why, how this is learnt (and unlearnt), how it is imagined and exemplified. In an era where the ‘artist as personality’ may no longer be thought to be of interest or instruction to understanding art, we look at the external forces and inner structures that produce artist-figures and artistic capacity. What type of fantasy is at work here and how much does the decision to become an artist count in becoming one? Though our students may grumble now at certain of the things we expect them to do, they will soon go on to say (joining every other former art school graduate): ‘Oh, how I miss art school, how I miss the crits – it was truly the best time of my life!’