Artists Mishka Henner & David Oates awarded North East Photography Network commission for the 8th Berwick Film Festival.


The North East Photography Network and Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival are pleased to announce that Mishka Henner and David Oates (known collectively as BlackLab) have been awarded a funded commission to create a new work for this year’s Festival, which runs 19th – 23rd September 2012.

Responding to a call for proposals issued by NEPN and the Festival back in March, BlackLab were selected from an extremely competitive field of over 100 applications hailing from as far afield as Bangladesh and New Zealand and from across Europe and the UK. All proposals responded to the Festival’s theme for this year, Pictures in Motion, which explores the relationship between the still image and the moving image, with most applications coming from artists working across both photography and film.

The newly commissioned 15-min film will consider the nostalgic idea of the photographer as recorded in stills, literature, moving images, documentaries and archive footage and questions whether the role of the photographer will become redundant in a society where CCTV and mass observation are becoming the norm. Throughout the run of the Festival the work will be installed at Shoregate Icehouse in Berwick, while a one-off World Premiere screening will also take place at The Maltings Theatre & Cinema. The full Festival programme will be announced on 17th August.

Since 2009 the Manchester based collective have been making films that explore how photographic images interact with sound, music and text. BlackLab's films have been exhibited at Sale Waterside Arts Centre and the The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester. BlackLab were the UK representatives at the 2012 Dallas Biennial.

Both artists will be visiting the North East for a site visit to Berwick-upon-Tweed in early July. Manchester-based artist Mishka Henner will be delivering a talk about his photographic practice over the past eight years and both artists will speak about their collaborative projects as BlackLab, at The Mining Institute, Neville Hall, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE on Monday 2 July 2012 at 6.30pm. Attendance is free and all are welcome.


BlackLab’s Mishka Henner said "We are delighted to have been awarded the commission and look forward to working on our film exploring the role photographers and images have played in our culture.”

Amanda Ritson said ‘NEPN is delighted to be collaborating with Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival on this commissioned opportunity. We were overwhelmed by the quality and volume of submissions but are very pleased to have selected BlackLab to realise their new work, which will look at the impact of technology on the nature and role of the photographer, an extremely topical issue for many in the sector.’

Festival Director Melanie Iredale said today “Our commissions have often been the highlights of the Festival, so we’re thrilled to be collaborating with Mishka and David; two artists with such a strong track record, and on a new moving image work which really explores this year’s theme.”

The commission has been supported equally by Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, through support from Arts Council England, and by the North East Photography Network through support from the University of Sunderland, while the decisions panel was made up of representatives of all of the above organizations.

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