GRAHAM KERSHAW

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THE "REVELATION"

THE BACKGROUND

This is Graham's first commissioned public "Revelation" (and as such it deserves a whole separate page of its own!). It has been produced to commmemorate the Barber Institute's first Writer in Residence Philip Monks, and features a poem he has specially written and recorded.
The premise behind the short film was to introduce the viewer to the idea of seeing art and responding poetically - the theme behind Philip's residency at the Barber. Somewhat literally, therefore, Graham decided to begin filming outside the Institute and lead the viewer inside, up the stairs and right into the gallery itself. Here is found amongst the collection a curiously blank canvas that, on the commencement of Philip's poem, begins to be magically painted. It soon becomes apparent that the image is that of a man looking out of the picture, developing along with the poem which invites the listener to contemplate the complexities of the act of looking itself.
On completion Philip enters the scene, peers into the portrait and is surprised to see himself looking back at him, bringing to mind questions of reality, self-image and interpretation, all of which (and more - as the poem elaborates) are contained within "The Act of Looking".
THE PRODUCTION

After an initial meeting with Tess (Learning and Access Officer) and Alex (Learning and Access Assistant) at the Institute, Graham photographed Philip at his house in order to produce the portrait through the usual method. On completion Philip produced his poetic response which, rather than being a literal and personal reaction to the painting itself, reflected more generally on the idea of what it means to be looking and how this might be put into words.
Filming began (using a newly-purchased video camera) after the gallery staff had been kind enough to install the finished framed work and once they'd all been briefed on what was to be done. Two takes were needed since Freshers' week meant the entrance hall was jam-packed with students for the first effort (which was nevertheless a useful practice run), but second time through went without a hitch.
Back in the studio all that was needed was for Philip to deliver a recorded version of the poem so that Graham could complete the animation phase and begin editing the video footage in which it was to appear. The final piece of the puzzle was the accompanying music which Philip chose - an adaptation of Mozart's "The Magic Flute" by Christopher Ash. Now all together the "Revelation" was complete and ready for its public screening.
THE EVENT

The screening kicked off the Barber Institute's "Art and Writing" evening on Thursday October 13th in the Lecture Theatre. The crowd gathered and the turnout was impressive at between 60 and 70. The lights were dimmed and the video started without introduction and was really well received with a warm round of applause before Philip appeared on stage and the poetry readings began. The programme featured readers from the university English department (staff and students) as well as participants in the workshops Philip had run over the course of his residency. There was wine at half time and by the finish the evening had proved a great success.