In the early 1980s clubbers, art students, new romantics and members of the post-punk scene used inexpensive, domestic technology to find new modes of expression and subvert the mainstream media. The DIY approach of punk was powerfully reborn.
The period also saw new perspectives and voices emerge. More female, gay and black filmmakers pushed themselves forward and often they were friends; squatting flats, clubbing and developing new styles and techniques together. ‘Scratch video’ artists meanwhile cut-up pre-existing material to create startling new juxtapositions and reveal hidden meanings, and had an extraordinary impact.
These films focus on work from the early 80s that explored the blurred lines between media images and identity, creating new dialogues between the self and the world. Technology appeared to ease life, make things more exciting yet also create gaps between people. Artists considered what images and technology could mean and be in their fullest sense.
Weaving film and video together, often utilsing religious imagery, and introducing colour, effects and surface texture, filmmakers generated a new, vividly transcendental style by the end of the post-punk era. Key examples of this sensual, visually mature work are presented alongside other dynamic pieces that explore the dreamlike state.* The films are listed below.