I remember in 2016 when we cheerfully echoed the phrase ‘May you live in interesting times’.  It seems the world has become a smaller, darker and more turbulent place since then. Is there yet a place, a case to be made, for optimism? 

Thankfully, artists think so. These short films seem to condense the beauty and the darkness of our new world, and urge us continually towards creative action.   Pat Wilson Smith



Now and Now

Yolande Armstrong, 2020

I’ve just started to explore film as a medium and I’m enjoying the immediacy of it. Fascinated by the different resonances of simply putting one image next to another and by the impact of sequences in time – very different from my usual work, which is painting…

Now and Now, Yolande Armstrong, 3:53min

Translating the Untranslatable

Penny Florence, Recut 2020

This film explores Rilke’s 8th Duino Elegy and the process of translating it through the use of digital poetry. The custom digital “reader” interprets words and phrases in different ways according to how you programme it. The poem is infused with sorrow that, unlike creatures who live in an eternal present, we know death.

Translating the Untranslatable Penny Florence 3:33min

Botallack Bulls
Tim Ridley, 2020  35 second single-channel video Sept 2020

Botallack Bulls, Tim Ridley, 0.35min


Julia Giles, 2020

A small dystopian republic, run by ‘The Authority’ within a city preparing for an uncertain future. People work within the Republic, but no one lives there…yet.

Climate change was in my mind at the outset of making this video. The recordings were made on an artists’ residency project in Canary Wharf New District, July 2018. The film was completed in February this year.

Ark, Julia Giles, 3:49min


Andrew Swan, 2019

The lost and found, the dreamers and cleaners,
the watchers and the watched.
CAUSEWAY takes you on a brief journey through
the moonlit streets of Penzance
Music credit:  ‘Love’ written by John Lennon, performed by John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band.
‘My current work is an observation of how we value and regard others through wealth, class and religion’

Causeway, Andrew Swan, 5:29min

Speak / Witness

Patricia Wilson Smith, 2020 

Speak / Polly is braver than me. Each week she holds a one-woman protest in support of Black Lives Matter. She’s spent a big part of her life working to uphold and protect the rights of black minorities. She is not going to stop now, even though, and because the community she inhabits is largely white and rural.

Witness / This CCTV footage of Jamal Khashoggi has haunted me since 2018. The discrediting and destruction of free speech is not something that can be remedied by social media, but if we’re not careful that is all we will have left.

Speak / Witness, Patricia Wilson Smith, 3:41min


Janet McEwan, 2020. Silent.

Produced from footage taken in March 2019 while on a 2 week cruise on Queen Mary 2, a purpose built transatlantic ocean liner. I was accompanying a friend employed to give geology lectures to passengers, and had a free ticket. The ship took us across waters, which seemed to have an absence of wildlife, to ports and islands in Malaysia and India – former British Colonies.

Queen Janet McEwan 4:55min

We Must Not Let This Go On
Ken Turner, 2020

In September this year, performance artist Ken Turner took to the streets of St Ives to broadcast an unequivocal message for visitors and residents alike

We Must Not Let This Go On, Ken Turner, 4.39min

Watch the full performance on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ep8Uf-zKE6w

We Must Not Let This Go On 
Ken Turner, 2020


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  1. […] The artists featured are Yolande Armstrong, Julia Giles, Penny Florence, Tim Ridley, Patricia Wilson Smith, Andrew Swan, Ken Turner and Janet McEwan. You can read more about each film in this post. […]

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