2019 was an exceptional year for Avant Kinema's Sarahjane Swan & Roger Simian with film screenings in Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, Croatia, Sweden (Västerås), the USA (Florida), Brazil (Porto Alegre & Florianopolis), Australia (North Bellarine) and Italy (Foggia) as well as broadcasts across several US states as part of the experimental cable show, Here Comes Everybody.
The duo were awarded a grant for analogue filmmaking equipment by the Hope-Scott Trust and won the Pauline Fay Lazarus Prize for work using the human form for their hand-processed Super 8 film, Boy and the Sea, at the opening of the SSA + VAS: Open exhibition in Edinburgh.
Boy and the Sea is currently screening daily as part of this exhibition at the RSA, on the Mound, until the 30th of January, and can be seen around 12.30 each day in the Cutlog Moving Image room.
2020 is already looking to be even more exceptional for Avant Kinema with the announcement that the duo's film, Alphonso's Jaw (which grew out of their 2016 installation of the same name at the Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival) will tour the world throughout the year as part of the TIME is Love screenings. The promotional poster for this 12th edition of TIME is Love - which has Universal Feelings: Myths & Conjunctions as its theme - features a still from Alphonso's Jaw.
The first of these films, Flow State (influenced by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi's 1970s theory on the mental state of complete absorption in a creative or practical activity) features a cartridge of vintage Super 8 filmstock, each frame painstakingly scratched and coloured by Sarahjane Swan, resulting in a kind of "moving abstract painting" which plays in concord with the largely improvised experimental soundtrack. Here's the 60 second trailer for the film:-
Avant Kinema have also been commissioned by the New Modernist Editing Network, based at the university of Glasgow, to create an artwork in response to a text from the constellation of Modernist editions which the network has identified. For this project Swan and Simian have chosen to work on an interdisciplinary "translation" of the French Symbolist poet, Stéphane Mallarmé's "untranslatable" final poem, A Roll of the Dice will Never Abolish Chance (or Un coup de dés jamais n'abolira le hasard).
Avant Kinema's finished work - which should incorporate a mix of film, music, writing and photography - will be presented as part of the exhibition, Imprints of the New Modernist Editing, at Shandy Hall in Yorkshire, one-time home of Laurence Sterne, author of the 18th century novel, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. The exhibition runs from the 12th to 26th of July and features a workshop on the 13th of July on the relationship between text and non-verbal elements.