CIRCULAR REFERENCE - Jo Wheeler

Still Undead focuses on the legacy of the Bauhaus in Britain. As an example of contemporary architecture Nottingham Contemporary’s very structure can trace its roots back to Bauhaus thinking and design. The building’s steel, concrete and glass, and the expression of these materials into clean lines and smooth surfaces, owes so much to Bauhaus innovation. I was interested in producing a site-specific film that suggests a ‘circular reference’ to this legacy.

I was drawn to László Moholy-Nagy’s work in Still Undead – in particular, Light-Play: black, white, grey (1933), part of a series of films he made using revolving, kinetic sculptures to create abstract studies of form, light, space and movement. He gives these objects pleasing names such as ‘Space Kaleidoscopes’, ‘Light Display Machines’, ‘Light Space Modulators’, and ‘Light Props’.

In my film, the Nottingham Contemporary building becomes my own ‘Light Space Modulator’. The building’s physical spaces are abstracted to investigate their surfaces, lines, rhythms, and apertures. The camera (and my body behind it) become the kinetic driver to study motion through space, and capture a conversation between these components. I filmed during the changeover period between the Still Undead exhibition and the subsequent show. Exploring the building in its rawest state, it felt like an empty stage; a space of absence and possibility; a space of continual renewal and change.

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