MACE has recently supplied footage for a PhD project by Manchester based visual artist Jo Clemence called The 9 Archives Project.
Jo’s work represents the culmination of a year long research project that began with visits to 9 UK regional film archives, including MACE, each of which supplied an individual film from their collections. Jo has created 9 new bodies of work in response to each film and these new works reflect a fictional response to the factual information surrounding the film’s origin.
The resulting work denotes new methodologies for the interpretation of archived film and explores conditions for the reception of original materials to create a broader understanding of the possibilities and potential meanings that the films represent.
The film MACE supplied is a police surveillance film from 1935 called Street Betting, which depicts a group of men who seem to be loitering in Chesterfield market square for the purpose of betting. You can watch the film on MACE’s website here.
Jo’s response to this piece of archive material led her to create a sculpture called PANOPTICON (FOLLOW ME AND I’LL FOLLOW YOU) which is based on Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon structure. Bentham’s stucture was initially developed to allow prison watchmen to observe inmates without them being able to tell whether or not they are being watched. In the exhibition itself, Jo placed the sculpture so that the whole 9 Archives Project exhibition was visible from inside it. The round ‘portals’ that the viewer looks through are reminiscent of camera lenses and it becomes clear that it is the exhibition and the audience who are under surveillance.
You can learn more about Jo’s project here