LET RIP (TEENAGE SCRAPBOOK): Artist’s Statement: This film contains imagery of pages from a very large scrapbook that I kept when I was a teenager in the 1990s for just over five years – my personal private archive of images that in many ways helped to shape my understanding of (gay) male desire at a time when I felt too uncomfortable to come out as gay. It is a self-reflection of my desire as a gay man when I was a teenager wanting to be seen but not wanting to be seen at the same time. It presents an intimate history of sight (mine), of not seeing yourself (represented in mainstream pop culture) and discovering a part of yourself through seeing. The film taps on a lot of personal and political issues but important is internalised homophobia – Can I say that? Can I do that? For example, talking about my boy crushes. The idea of building a queer identity was so different in the pre-Internet years I when was making my scrapbook. The rips and tears and the turned-up edges of the scrapbook printed material now digitised as images appear flat on the computer screen. Green-screen processes are again employed to achieve seductive surfaces to beckon the viewer to want to see them in real life, thus making the reality of viewing the now-destroyed physical scrapbook in the flesh even more desirable.
SEE SHELLS: Artist’s Statement: Sparking memories of the seaside, this film is rooted in Kent/Sussex and features drawings I made as a child on seashells of places/people/objects along the coast – my own version of scrimshaw. The imagery is juxtaposed with a poem I wrote that explains the significance of the seaside to me, featuring my family and friends. It captures the strangeness of the British seaside using a telescope that operates like a blinking voyeuristic eye – all the seaside towns I loved going to as a child growing up in Kent in the 1980s. The black and white drawings on the shells are reminiscent of the work of artists William Kentridge and Tacita Dean, representing an English-ness and a nostalgia for an England that may or may not have existed, a Britain making do with the beaches that we have.