Microcinema (curated by James Mackay), Cambridge Film Festival, 21/22 Oct 2017

The 16th edition of microcinema, a weekend of screenings of artists’ films and talks, will take place on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 October 2017. While part of the Cambridge Film Festival (19 – 26 October), this year’s microcinema will for the first time have its own dedicated venue at Downing College, Cambridge, where it will also present an installation by the revered American artist and filmmaker William E. Jones, at the college’s Heong Gallery.

This year’s programme is organised around the theme of ‘Archive and Memory’ and will encompass both contemporary and historical work. Highlights include a newly commissioned film by the 2016 winner of the Margaret Tait award, Kate Davis, entitled Charity (2017), alongside a rare screening of Tait’s seminal work On the Mountain (1974), and a newly restored work by the avant-garde filmmaker Margaret Raspé, Blue on White Edges and Frames (1979). Works by Cordelia Swann, Sarah Wood, Gair Dunlop, Sam Ashby and Dick Jewell complete the programme.

Screenings will be held over the weekend in the Howard Theatre of Downing College. All sessions will be free of charge and feature an introduction and artist Q&A with James Mackay, programme curator. A round-table discussion about how artists are exploring the relationship between image and memory will take place on Sunday afternoon at the Heong Gallery.

Glasgow-based artist, filmmaker and musician Luke Fowler’s 2017 film, Electro- Pythagorus (a portrait of Martin Bartlett) will be shown at the Arts Picturehouse. The film pays tribute to the work and ideas of Martin Bartlett (1939-93), a proudly gay Canadian composer, who during the 1970s and 1980s pioneered the use of the ‘microcomputer.’

As part of the programme, an installation of a new photo and film work by William E. Jones will be shown at the Heong Gallery from 19 – 23 October. Entitled Fall into Ruin (2017), the work tells the story of the artist’s relationship with Alexander Iolas, the Greek art dealer and collector who at the height of his career owned galleries in New York, Paris, Milan, Geneva, Madrid and Athens. Known for his association with the Surrealists, Iolas gave Andy Warhol his first solo exhibition in 1952, and helped to form the collection of the great arts patrons John and Dominique de Menil before retiring to Athens in the 1980s.

Following his death in 1987 from AIDS, Iolas’s property in Athens was looted. His collection, which included artifacts and art from ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt, as well as pieces by the artists Iolas worked with, including Max Ernst, René Magritte, and Man Ray amongst many others, vanished. The empty house was completely vandalised and today stands as a modern ruin. Fall into Ruin sees Jones return to the sites he first visited at the age of 19 and revisit the story of Alexander Iolas through views of the villa in its current ruined state, shots of contemporary Athens and antiquities on display at the National Archaeological Museum, as well as the original photographs Jones took of Villa Iolas in 1982, exhibited alongside the film.

Several of the filmmakers included in this year’s programme have screened their work at microcinema in the past, reflecting the long-standing relationships that the festival builds with artists by providing a platform for both exposition and experimentation.

Further information about the Microcinema programme can be found here.