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The Complete Buzzcocks Event 2017
John Blake Publishing
Director’s statement of motivation In 2005 I captured video of recording sessions, live performances and other scenarios involving original British punk band Buzzcocks – a band seminal in their approach and contribution to the punk ethos and pioneers of the DIY approach to the production of art, not only as the creators of music but as the hub of a collective artistic approach that spanned music and visual arts. The materials that I documented being created went on to become the 2006 album Flat-Pack Philosophy, the band’s eighth studio album, released on Cooking Vinyl in March 2006. After decades of documenting and producing projects around ‘punk’ using an individual DIY approach, I now want to explore the potential for a shared collaborative initiative between artist and audience which draws upon the ‘punk’ philosophy of bricolage and anti-formalist film convention which celebrates and offers more complex interpretations of documentary through ‘The Art of Punk’ by questioning ‘definitions of power’ relationships. To achieve this ambition, I intend to select potential documentary elements of self-produced materials exploring the relationships between postmodern and realist approaches to the documentary intention. This work seeks to expand and interrogate the relationships between the documenter and the documented using a series of ‘disconnected’ elements as a ‘self-assembly’ strategy for creating and re-creating documentary practice as Art and ongoing collaborative online activity. Using these video materials, the aim of this project is to construct a series of ‘realist interventions’ as a loose narrative structure drawing upon a fictional relationship between a character (played by Monica Wong) and her interaction with the band as they go about their work. The internal story is therefore a device to examine relationships between: • Filmmaker and subject. • Realism and fictional construction in documentary practice. • Do It Yourself approaches to documenting ‘punk’ as motivated by the bands lyrics. • Photography and documenting reality. • Documentary ‘intention’, ethics and negotiating boundaries inside and outside of the project. • Documentary practice as a post/post post-modernist art form. Using a simulated ‘voice of god’ narration as introduction, the project is contextualised from the filmmaker’s viewpoint and the visual representation presents the audience with a potential ‘structure’ within which they may inhabit a constructed position. After this initial contexualisation, the project then offers only ‘elements’ of unreconstructed audio/video recordings of the artists and when documentary photography is introduced as a strategic device the project disintegrates into a ‘bricolage’ of found or constructed materials with no real connection. The aim is to challenge the viewers’ reading of the contextualisation and offer interpretation and re-interpretation as a critical tool to help take apart the dominant role of the realist (documentary?) ambition in a post or post post-modern era. The audience is invited to interpret the materials in a more complex understanding using the frameworks above as a motivational strategy. By inviting this re-interpretation, the aim is to examine more complex relationships in documentary work while offering a critical mechanism for individual assemblage of the work presented in documentary form. Eventually, the materials will be offered to exhibition audiences as a ‘collection’ of potential elements to ‘re-edit’ using Rotascope or similar software whereby any viewer can re-assemble the project in their own way as an expanded collaborative documentary activity which offers critique of the dominant traditional documentary form and highlights the potential for archiving these ongoing online activities as a form of collaborative art outside of corporate ownership. Using the materials gathered during the album’s assembly (with potential to record more contemporary reflections from the band ten years later), the themes and ambitions of this work connect with core issues explored explicitly by the artists themselves as part of the creation of this album and more widely as part of the DIY ‘punk’ philosophy. After forty years of punk history mostly created and documented by mainstream broadcasters to enounce an accepted and unquestioned construct of ‘punk’, this project seeks to re-position and re-claim documentary activity about ‘punk’ in the exhibition space, presenting audiences with a critical perspective on the forty-year journey through the artistic endeavors of key participants who inspired the filmmaker.