Video Jam + Baptists & Bootleggers present Dieter Moebius

Following our residency with artists from the Islington Mill in Ibiza, we teamed up with non-profit record label and publishers Baptists & Bootleggers - based at the Mill - to collaborate on a special event. Taking our flexible format, it was decided that this event should be a stripped down programme featuring high profile names alongside up and coming artists. A few emails later and we had Dieter Moebius buying a plane ticket whilst Phil Solomon kindly sent some 16mm film all the way from Colorado.

Running order 

Act 1: Psalm II Walking Distance (23 mins) & Psalm III Night of the Meek (23 mins) by Phil Solomon scored by Dieter Moebius

Act 2: Oh Willy... (17 mins) by Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels scored by HORRID

Act 3: Entr'acte (24 mins) by Rene Clair scored by Ex-Easter Island Head

Act 4: Paintdream (8 mins) by Ralph Pritchard scored by The Happy Soul

Still from Night of the Meek

Act 1

Swiss/german electro legend Dieter Moebius flew into Manchester especially for Video Jam. Hailed by some as “the godfather of Krautrock” Moebius’s reputation precedes him. From his early work with the Krautrock band Cluster, and later Harmonia, collaborations with Kraftwerk producer Conny Plank and Brian Eno to his later solo recordings, Moebius, now sadly passed away, was one of the most prolific voices in contemporary electronic music. He previously re-scored Fitz lang’s 1927 sci-Fi classic Metropolis for Future Everything 2012.

Voted 5th in a poll of the 'top 50 avant-garde Filmmakers of the last decade', Phil Solomon is one of today’s most acclaimed artists in his field, whose 40 year career spans handmade films to digital art and gallery installations. His work has been screened in every major venue for experimental film throughout the U.s. and europe, including 3 one man shows at MOMA, where his films reside in the permanent collection. Solomon currently teaches film at the University of Colorado in Boulder. It was here that he once held sunday film salons with the legendary experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage with whom he has collaborated on three films. 

Still from Oh Willy...

Act 2

Horrid is an anagram of the band's names. They gave the following statement: "Horrid mainly trucks at least 5 deep, but sometimes only three or four of us play the gigs. None of us have played our chosen instruments before except the bass man. We all liked and do like different stuff and formed the band to explore the common sonic landscape between us. Somehow it came out right first time. We play one note for the whole show and the drummer somehow makes things sound soft, hard, rockin’, wussy, slow or fast over the top. sometimes we chant about keys. We are an anti-anti-hype hyped-up maxin’ hypeless-hype hype-hype band, not an anti-hype band. We soundcheck as people with normal faces and immediately don masks to totally rip up the gig as Horrid. I’m writing this listening to good Brian Eno. Why did he produce Coldplay?"

Oh Willy... is a stop-motion animation created by Belgium-based duo Emma de Swaef (originally from Belgium) and Marc James Roels (originally from south africa). The story follows Willy, a naïve and soft-hearted fellow dealing with the death of his mother, coming to terms with a life fraught with confusion and unusual choices. Oh, and by the way, it’s all set in a nudist colony. This surreal journey has brought many a tear, chortle and raised eyebrow to audiences across the world. The short has had the stop-motion community and animation festivals talking with its innovative use of materials and unashamedly bizarre narrative. 

Still from Entra'cte

Act 3

Ex-Easter Island Head compose and perform music for solid-body electric guitar, percussion and other instruments. Utilising musicians from a diverse range of musical backgrounds on project by project basis, the ensemble is directed by performer/composter/sound artist Benjamin Duvall. Incorporating multiple prepared electric guitars struck with percussion mallets and treated as an infinitely variable sound-source as well as drawing on an arsenal of cymbals, bells, prayer bowls and acoustic percussion, they devise works that explore group interplay, repetition and melodic invention through purposefully limited means. 

Entr’acte by Rene Clair is a classic of avant-garde cinema. Meaning ‘pause between acts’, it was made as an intermission piece for a dada theater work directed by Francis Picabia that premiered in Paris in december of 1924. Devised from a short, impromptu scenario by Picabia and accompanied originally by an orchestral score by Erik Satie, the film includes a series of cameo appearances from several figureheads of the parisian art scene such as Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray, whose rooftop chess game has become an iconic image. In typical dada fashion, Clair employed the device of random association to create a complete work which purported to suggest meaning whilst purposely frustrating rational coherence. For artists of the time, stretching the limits of film offered an opportunity to attack the safe, bourgeois comforts of narrative, character, setting and plot, as well as conventional notions of time and space. 

Act 4

The Happy Soul are a 5 piece melodic vocal group from Manchester UK. They make subversive popular music. For this event they relinquished their instrumentation and cast off technology in order to simply use their voices. They gave the following statement: "Michael has long been taken by ecclesiastical choral music, particularly by that of composers Thomas Tallis and William Byrd. Tonight the music performed by Michael and Mark will attempt to take something of the spirit of this genre of music and at the same time remove them from behind their instruments and completely out of their comfort zones. Eventually though, not out of their bullshit zone."

Ralph Pritchard is an artist and film director whose work ranges from abstract performance films and music videos, to dramatic narrative. Ralph very often explores the poetic potential of cinema, using his expertise and experience in cinematography, combining the slick aesthetic of the digital age with an indie edge but he is primarily influenced by the dynamic spirit of the Polish surrealists of the 1970s such as Wojciech Has and Andrzej Zulawski. His performance work and music videos often use optical tricks and effects to create new feelings and reactions to spaces. His more abstract work is influenced by a diverse range of artists such as Stan Brakhage and Peter Campus.