Art—coming soon to a cinema near you

Short films by major artists will be screened unannounced before regular features in the UK

by Gareth Harris  |  9 February 2016
Art—coming soon to a cinema near you
Still from A Brief History of Princess X by Gabriel Abrantes
A series of short films by five artists will be screened at cinemas across the UK—but cinemagoers will be unaware that the pieces will be shown as part of their viewing experience. The four-to-six-minute films—part of the Artists Cinema initiative—will be played before regular features at cinemas countrywide.

The project, which launched yesterday (8 February) in cinemas, is co-organised by the Independent Cinema Office and Lux, and funded by Arts Council England. The artists commissioned are Corin Sworn, Gabriel Abrantes, Dora García, Naeem Mohaiemen and Margaret Salmon.

The films will be projected unannounced, “enabling cinemagoers to discover experimental content with an unexpected injection of art”, according to a statement.

Sworn’s film, The Coat, tells the tale of two travelling actors who unexpectedly encounter a pair of stowaways on a country road. García’s El helicóptero examines the legacy of the late Argentine artist and critic Oscar Masotta.

Salmon’s work, entitled Bird, presents a dawn chorus of songbirds in the Scottish countryside. She tells The Art Newspaper: “I'm excited to share the work with wider audiences. It's a wonderful opportunity to, however briefly, stimulate a dialogue about cinematic devices—camera, edit, sound, narration—and to both celebrate and deconstruct the ways in which we engage with and depict wild spaces and subjects in film.”

Previous editions of Artists Cinema ran in 2006 and 2010. Independent Cinema Office is the national organisation for the development of independent film in the UK; Lux is a London-based, non-profit arts agency that supports artists’ “moving image practice”.

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