Film Screenings

William Raban. Still from Thames Film

Experimental film and sound meet in this programme curated by and featuring work by William Raban's ‘Beating The Bridges’ and ‘Thames Film’ and James Holcombe and Adam Asnan's ‘Four Thames Walks’

Curated by


William Raban – ‘Beating The Bridges’ and ‘Thames Film’

13 May, 18:45

Renowned filmmaker William Raban presents two works that reflect on the sights and sounds of the river through an approach that takes in the documentary, the archival and the poetic. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the artist.

Renowned filmmaker William Raban presents 'Beating the Bridges' and 'Thames Film'. Described by Peter Ackroyd as a film of 'beauty sublimity and terror' Thames Film travels along the river length creating a reflective, ambivalent approach to cinematic Modernism. Narrated by John Hurt, it is the closest Raban comes to a conventional documentary, incorporating archive film from 1921-1951, panoramic photographs taken in 1937. Brueghel the Elder's painting the Triumph of Death and T.S.Eliot reading Four Quartets. Raban centres a study of the sites of modernity, and the meanings that time has inscribed into them, on the Thames. This is preceeded by Raban's 'Beating the Bridges' which uses the 30 bridges of the Thames as a range of acoustic space that is featured on the soundtrack by ambient reverb and a live percussion score. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the artist.

For the last 25 years, since making THAMES FILM, William Raban’s films have been partly concerned with documenting East London.  These films include SUNDIAL (1992), A13 (1994), ISLAND RACE (1996), BEATING the BRIDGES (1997) FIRESTATION (2000), MM (2002) AYSHE's TALE (2008) and the current film ABOUT NOW MMX. All these films adopt an experimental method that is combined with a documentary approach to the subject material. They have been shown on television and screened widely at international documentary film festivals such as Marseilles, Lisbon, Leipzig and Amsterdam.  William Raban lives and works in London is Currently reader in Film at LCC, University of the Arts London.


James Holcombe and Adam Asnan – ‘Four Thames Walks’

20 May, 18:45

A new sonic cinematic piece created by filmmaker Holcombe and sound artist Asnan. The performance will be constructed from material gathered along the Thames and blended together live in the screening room

A world premiere of a new performed 'sonic cinematic work' by Holcombe and Asnan. Constructed from material generated along the Thames both the audio and visual material use a 'polyptych scheme' - a fragmented but reciprocal collection  of observations that avoid allusions to a linear narrative. Holcombe is of an artist genre that seeks to film 'perfect' rolls of film in camera. Asnan creates location recordings using both conventional and expanded techniques again using a minimal amount of post editing. This

collaboration brings together these highly considered approaches to create work improvised on location and performed 'live' with deliberate breaks to load the projector so that the sound has equal weight to the image and itself describes images unseen.

James Holcombe explores the collision of chance, improvisation, structure and decomposition.  He is of an artist genre that seeks to film 'perfect' rolls of film without the need for post editing so that the pace and tempo of the work is felt in operation of the camera. His improvised 'in camera' techniques explore the technical and material aspects of film and his experimentation with hand processing investigate cycles of decay, rot and disruption of the image. James's work has been exhibited throughout the UK

and Europe. Screenings include Serpentine Gallery, 2009, VideoEx Festival, Switzerland, 2009, “Starting From Scratch”, Rotterdam, 2008, Evolution Festival, Leeds, 2007, Tate Modern, 2006, Avanto Festival Helsinki, 2005. He has also performed sound pieces throughout the UK since 2001. James is a key member at the artists platform leading workshops on the various technical aspects of filmmaking

Adam Asnan is a sound artist whose work captures and explores various forms of sound material. His practice is influenced by the French musique concrète tradition and the original theoretical and aesthetic framework for compositon with sound objects proposed by Pierre Schaeffer. His solo works, artist-film collaborations and  improvised performances have been presented in London, Oslo, Marrakech, Prague and Paris.

In this project

Co-commissioned & Co-produced by

Somerset House
Sound and Music


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