Up Yours! Post Punk & Feminism Revisited with Live Performances from Shade Ray and Es
Saturday, 15 January 2022
Image: Baby Doll, Tessa Hughes Freeland, 1982
Experimental Film and Punk: Feminist Audio Visual Culture of the 1970s and 1980s, a new book by artist Professor Rachel Garfield, aims to analyze and situate the aesthetic and intellectual ambition of a range of women filmmakers operating during the 1970s and 1980s through the lens and legacy of punk. In Garfield’s writing she traces the emergence of a female subjectivity as a vital and valid form of practice and explores specific filmmaking approaches such as DIY, disintegration and hysteria.
This live music and film event includes screenings of works featured in the book by Vivienne Dick, Abigail Child, Betzy Bromberg, Tessa Hughes Freeland, Ruth Novaczek and Sandra Lahire and Anne Robinson with live performances from bands Shade Ray and Es and a DJ set from Gabi.
Curated by Rachel Garfield
Prescient in its foreboding, Es’ debut album (Less Of Everything, Upset the Rhythm), was released in the dark days of early lockdown. Over the past few years the London quartet have coined an uncanny sound, an icy DIY punk creeping with gothic influence and nuanced intensity. Eschewing the lead guitar format, bass, keys, drum and voice interlock and spill apart. An eruption of four psyches collaborating and colliding, straddling discordance and harmony, Es makes "mutant synth-punk for our dystopian present" (Jess Skolnik, Bandcamp). "Less of Everything revels in pointed anarcho tension and sub-zero twists of almost aquatic melody, its wondrously impactful and eldritch in equal measure.” Chris Tipton, Upset The Rhythm.
Shade Ray are a trio of dream-rockers from London. Cara, Beth & Kaja create intricate, spiralling, meandering, epic songs that make you want to sway and lose yourself. Conjurers of stories and sound, Shade Ray tiptoe on a tender tightrope between surreal and deeply heartfelt, often stepping away from the ordinary in their lyrics and to hold up kingdoms, monsters and mythology as a prism to view the world through. Sweeping, dirty guitars, echoes of brass, samples and spoken word might all be found at their live performances nodding to their combined influences of ambient, jazz, doowop, soul, grunge, hip hop and psychedelia with a defiant heart at the centre. Cheeky with odd time signatures, then suddenly heavy with a wailing refrain - Shade Ray play with dark and play with light - thriving in contrast.
Ciao Bella or Fuck Me Dead
A personal film about love and mortality. Bromberg shows us a world of crowded New York streets and hauntingly empty interior spaces, graced briefly by wisps of childish energy and the provocation of nearly naked women. She deftly contrasts such vibrant exuberance with a sense of devastating loss, and the effect is at once brazenly personal (if elliptical) and incredibly powerful. Unfolding desire merges with the ever-present reality of the threat of losing what you love
Tessa Hughes Freeland
New York go-go dancers Ferne and Irene are preparing to perform and talk about their work. In a witty and empathetic observation, they reflect on their experience, their own dignity and the transformation of the perception of public behavior, which was more of an art form than a utilitarian service.
Estelle and Lily are two Jewish women for whom keeping a kosher home and marrying a nice Jewish boy are not on the agenda. Alienated from themselves and wondering why 'it isn't exactly trendy to be Jewish', Estelle and Lily meet each other and explore their Jewishness. They explore the stories of a mother and daughter in fifties Britain, a refugee from Vienna, and Israeli Iranian storyteller, a neurotic father, a Trinidadian woman, and finally the two women end up on a roof looking at Israel. Rootless Cosmopolitans mixes music, family and food to take a wry look at the myth of the Jewish princess and asks 'What is a Jew?'
A low budget sci-fi short, where an androgynous alien, played by Pat Place, emerges from the sea to sift through rubbish on a beach. This film was originally intended to be part of a longer collaborative work to be made by a group of women called Les Guérilléres – after the radical feminist book of the same name by Monique Wittig.
An homage to silent films: the clash of ambiguous innocence and unsophisticated villainy; seduction, revenge, jealousy, combat. The isolation and dramatization of emotions through the isolation (camera) and dramatization (editing) of gesture. I had long conceived of a film composed only of reaction shots in which all causality was erased. What would be left would be the resonant voluptuous suggestions of history and the human face. Perils is a first translation of these ideas.