Single screen video with stereo sound, 22 mins, 2009.
The film’s main character, ‘Bill’ (played by Paul Hilton), is taking part in an advertising company’s focus group meeting, which is using the conference facilities of an English stately home. But Bill also appears to be acting out or imagining scenarios set in a 1930s New York psychiatric institution, in which he takes on the character of a failed jazz musician recovering from alcohol abuse. Eventually, this 1930s world, and the shadow it casts over the present, entirely disrupts the proceedings. The film draws on the English writer Malcolm Lowry’s time in a psychiatric ward at New York’s Bellevue Hospital in 1935, which informed his novella Lunar Caustic. Lowry’s voluntary attendance at Bellevue (he could check out when he liked), parallels the often privileged position that art occupies in relation to real life.
Originally co-commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella with the Bluecoat, in association with Harewood House, Leeds and Spacex, Exeter.
You can also watch the piece on the FVU watch player.
Steven Bode (Film and Video Umbrella website). April 2021 article about the work.
Andy Johnson (Art in Liverpool website). 9/11/2012 review referencing the work.
Bellevue Holiday at Exeter Spacex (ArtsCulture website). 2/10/2010 article referencing the work.
Sophie Haydock (The Leeds Guide). 28/4/2010 review of the work.
Robert Clark (The Guardian). 26/9/2009 preview of the work.