The Tenement Films

Talent Showcase 2009
  • Scheme: Random Acts
  • People: Luke Fowler
  • Duration: 3' each

Film Information

  • Year of commission: 2008
  • Year of release: 2009
  • Artist Schemes: Film London Jarman Award


  • Artist: Luke Fowler

Luke Fowler, Helen (2009), film still

As the winning artist of the 2008 Film London Jarman Award, Luke Fowler was commissioned to produce four short films for 3 Minute Wonder, Channel 4's shorts strand.

The four films premiered on Channel 4 over four consecutive nights in April 2009. Entitled Anna, Helen, David and Lester, they are a series of portraits of four diverse individuals brought together through a shared residence - a flat in a Victorian tenement in the West End of Glasgow. Shot and edited on a single 16mm bolex camera using available light throughout, the films invoke reflections on the four individuals, how they occupy these particular spaces together.

Watch all four films as part of the BFI Player's Film London Jarman Award showcase:

- Anna

Anna shows my former partner and glimpses of myself, shot in reflection, as I navigate the camera around her and architectural details of the room. Capturing residual marks traced by the incessantly panning and tracking camera eyes. The soundtrack in Anna is an original composition by Lee Patterson. Comprised of field recordings, often using contact microphones to objects found in the actual room.

- Helen

The second film portrays Helen and is set in a distinctively decorated gold room. The film strays even further into a dimension of self-portraiture; using fast cutting between shots in a large mirror and of bay windows, multiple exposures and disjunctive camera movements. The film weaves a taut web of associations between personal ephemera, a painting, objects, furniture and the outside world. The original sountrack is composed by Toshiya Tsunoda and features recordings of a previous installation (Composition for Flutter Screen), prepared guitar and field recordings.

- David

Moving up the tenement floors David is the subject of the next film in contrast to the other films David's interior is sparse and uncluttered. The structure of this film is extended to the evening where the viewer is offered scenes filmed from his window; cars, passers-by coming and going, while the daylight changes from twilight to deep night. The soundtrack for this work consisting of sine-wave and multiple hand claps, performed in arrhythmic fashion and composed by Taku Unami.

- Lester

The final film, Lester, the most mellifluous of the quartet, features a warm, ornate score for solo cello and sine wave, performed and composed by Charles Curtis. The film suggests a culmination of previous experiments in developing a lexicon of camera techniques, employed in articulating and exploring these personal spaces.

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