Avant-Gardening the Floating Cinema.

Avant-Gardening's Paul has curated a programme of films for the Floating Cinema in Milton Keynes this summer. The Floating Cinema is, exactly as its name suggests, a cinema on a barge, weaving its way along the city's canals. The Floating Cinema’s programme will include a combination of intimate on board screenings, larger outdoor screenings, where films are projected from the cinema onto the canal bank and a programme of free talks and associated events.

The overarching theme of the Floating Cinema's Residency is Home. Paul's programme has two strands to complement the theme. The first of these is a selection of cult classics and genre films where a house or a home, however it is defined, becomes a central character in the film.  Grey Gardens is the crumbling mansion inhabited by Jackie Kennedy's cousins, it is both a home and a metaphorical prison for Little Edie as she argues with her mother and pines for her past life as a New York socialite. Terence Malick's sublime Days of Heaven has a house as a symbol of aspiration, a better life for the couple of migrant workers who are employed on the land.  And it is home which Dorothy searches for in the classic Wizard of Oz.

The second strand offers a different perspective by looking at how the land has shaped our history and the lives of its people. Milton Keynes is the perfect setting for these films; designed and built in the 1960's but constantly referencing Britain's ancient and mythical past in its choice of street names and even integrated into its planning. These films explore concepts of a mystical ancient history and tradition and their regular resurgence in the national consiousness, even in times of perceived all-conquering modernity. Among the films to be screened is Arcadia, a cinematic collage concealing a folk-horror tale. Penda's Fen was screened as a BBC Play For Today in the 1970s and despite the excellent reviews it was rarely shown again, however, the increasing interest in hauntology led to the film being rescued and restored by the BFI. New audiences have elevated the film's reputation still further and it is now considered by many to be a key work in British drama. 

For more information visit:




Topics: [film] [hauntology] [Milton Keynes]

MK Gallery Video Space

Derek Jarman, The Queen is Dead
Derek Jarman, The Queen is Dead

Avant-Gardening's Paul is this months guest curator of the video space at MK Gallery, Milton Keynes. The films selected for this programme were chosen as they represent parts of a complex cycle of heightened emotions and the societal and psychological factors which can contribute to an individual’s perception of self. The films range from the reflective through to a pop art visualisation of war and destruction and explore the complexity of a symbiotic interaction between the individual and society.

Films incude:

Tanaami KeiichiCrayon Angel (1975) 3mins

Yukio MishiimaYukoku AKA Patriotism AKA Love (1966) 28 mins

Derek Jarman, The Queen is Dead (1986) 6mins

Standish Lawler Necrology (1970) 11mins

Marianne Heske Phrenological Self-Portrait (1976) 8mins

Sandra LahireLady Lazarus (1991) 25 mins

MK Gallery, 900 Midsummer Blvd, Milton Keynes MK9 3QA


Topics: [film and video] [In Every Dream Home] [Milton Keynes]

The Shame Show

Caroline Smith
Caroline Smith

Caroline Smith and Paul Green: The Shame Show

Thursday 30 May / 6.30pm

The Shame Show is an interactive game/variety show hosted by Mertle (performance artist Caroline Smith) who will be subverting notions of popular entertainment as she investigates concepts of shame with her audience.

The evening will be divided between Mertle’s probing her guests in a series of interviews with guests such as a psychotherapist, philosopher and unrepentant ne’er do wells and a participatory game show where the audience can confess and relieve themselves of their burden of shame.

Like a deranged flashback from the golden days of light entertainment combined with an informal supper club, where the canapés of shame absolve the participants of their negative emotions, The Shame Show is an emotional exorcism that deals with psychological complexities in a manner that is both surprising and enlightening.

Caroline Smith is a performance artist whose work explores the peripheries of stand-up comedy and art. In her Mertle persona she has looked at people’s complex relationships with food and eating disorders. Mertle herself is from another time, the 1950’s, where a housewife was as adept at emotional self-restraint as she was with making a Victoria sponge and consequently she acts a repository for people’s intimate moments of self-doubt or insecurity . Mertle becomes a non-judgemental listener and the audience become increasingly aware that beneath the confidently domestic exterior is a woman who shares their insecurities and self-doubt.

For this performance Caroline will be collaborating with Avant-Gardening whose ongoing curatorial side project In Every Dream Home a Heartbreak takes a fresh look at sexuality and gender representation in non-mainstream culture. Avant-Gardener Paul Green will be animating the space with moments of shame in popular culture and the two will use the performance as a way of exploring future collaborations.

MK Gallery

Topics: [In Every Dream Home] [Milton Keynes] [performance]

Avant Gardening in Residence

Artist Polly Brannan, of London based Artist Collective Avant Gardening, will be resident in the Project Space at MK Gallery throughout October, developing an on-going research and action based project.  Using the Project Space as base camp, Polly will be working offsite for the majority of her time leading up to a programme of screenings, live- events, workshops, walks and explorations. She will also be working towards a series of events offsite exploring both the urban and more rural surroundings of Milton Keynes.

For more information visit http://www.mkgallery.org/education/projectspace/avant_gardening/

Topics: [gardening] [green spaces] [Milton Keynes] [residency] [urban planning] [urbanism]

artwork by polly brannan
website by the useful arts organisation