Computer code can feel like learning Chinese for a European (and I have done both!) However for artists it is often easier when you have something hands one to play with and adapt, even the simplicity of making a circle grow on screen by pressing a sensor, or switching a light on by moving nearer to a distance sensor, can help. Somehow giving the code a physical form seems to help demystify the process, (memories of my Chinese flash cards to learn basic vocabulary!).
The film partly documents a re-enactment of one of the most violent clashes between Police and coal miners during the miners’ strike of 1984-5. The screening was followed by a long and fascinating discussion, which at times got quite heated. The discussion looked at the strengths and weaknesses of the film as well as the original live art or performance art event as conceived by Jeremy Deller. Some of the MA Fine Art Digital students are too young to have any memory of this event while for others it was a significant political event with strong visual impact. The discussion ranged from the role, if any, this event played in a healing process, the distortion of the events at the time by the media and in this 2001 film. The strange lack of woman in the film despite their significant role in the miners’ strike and whether today with twitter and crowd funding would a similar re-enactment and/or film have a very different political agenda? The discussion went on way beyond the scheduled finish time, a good sign, but challenging at the end of 9 intensive days.