First year Graphic Design students Paul Merritt, Dylan Young, Reuben Morley and Alex Bassett have worked together on two group projects: BAUEN and AVTUR.
Our first project BAUEN, was the realisation of a micro-nation for which we designed a 63 page book documenting a dystopian village based on the write/re-write motion of a computer hard disc. BAUEN designers constantly build and demolish to satisfy their modernist creative aesthetic indulging themselves in continual updates with no care for inhabitants or environment. Design is all.
After BAUEN we decided to work together again for an end of term film project. We were asked to make a 60-90 second film on the theme of ‘A new experience’. Alex, Reuben and Dylan had never read the work of J G Ballard before. Taking the RE/SEARCH Ballard special and ‘The Atrocity Exhibition’ as our starting point we began to look for film locations in Cornwall. We accessed M.O.D. facilities and hung out in car parks. We found concrete structures near tin mines and irrigation structures in fields. Finally we pieced together the 90 seconds of vision and sound that is AVTUR. The film was shown at the end of year Graphics Oscars where it won an Oscar for ‘Best Cinematography’
The J G Ballard Day conference took place on Saturday 24 June at Birmingham City University with the theme J.G. Ballard and Making, our film AVTUR was accepted as part of the yearly academic event. This one-day, multidisciplinary symposium showcased student projects at Birmingham University alongside academic papers and other creative responses to Ballard from elsewhere.
Objects, artefacts, performances, papers and discussion panels that respond to any aspect of making in J G Ballard’s work were included in the day’s events. Our film was shown as part of a visual and film themed section of the day where several films were shown and followed by questions and discussion. AVTUR was shown twice and we had an excellent reaction from other contributors. We answered many of interesting questions regarding both the technical side of the making of the film and the creative links to the themes of the world of J G Ballard.
It was a great opportunity to find out what kind of reaction our film would have from Ballard scholars and to find out if we were successful in translating at least some of the feeling and ideas present in his work. It was also a fantastic opportunity to spend some time in the beautiful modern building where we presented our film.
After the event its organiser Dr Thomas Knowles (Birmingham City University) said that AVTUR was “A really excellent addition to alternative cinema influenced by Ballard. AVTUR really captures the mood/tone of his works” He also confirmed that “It went down a treat” in a posting on his blog about J G Ballard day.