Drawing on the unreliability of the filmic medium and the subjective quality of recollection, the relationship between place and memory is a theme that recurs in moving image practice. Filmmaker Redmond Entwistle (born London, 1977, lives in London and New York) homes in on these properties, demonstrating how they relate to the space of the auditorium, while also illustrating film's historic relationship to the development of cities. Entwistle's films create portraits of cities as both spatial entities and sites for personal testimony, by skirting around their edges or by focusing on the invisible or the implied.
Entwistle's Paterson – Lódz (2006), a 16mm film about two towns (Paterson, New Jersey, and Lódz, Poland), is interrupted by audio tracks that simulate these urban spaces within the cinema auditorium. The audio components play in a different order each time the film is screened, making the work a unique encounter – an event experienced at a particular moment in time by a particular group of people. This activation of film's spatial effects on the viewer is central to expanded cinema, a type of experimental film practice that emerged in the 1960s and to which Entwistle's work has been compared. In Paterson – Lódz, Entwistle activates 'the space between' – literally, the blank spaces between the two films, in which sounds of public spaces in the two cities are heard – and also the space between Lódz and Paterson, two cities that were the start and end points of emigration for many Jews in the early twentieth century. This transition reflects the production of culture within these populations, and the continuities and discontinuities formed through geographical displacement.
For his Nought to Sixty screening programme Entwistle will present Skein (2008), a video that is expanded with sculpture and performance through the space of the auditorium and the site of the ICA. In Skein, as with Paterson – Lódz, the space around a city – the memories of it, journeys from it, obstructions to it – becomes as important as the image of the city itself, and the space occupied by the cinema audience watching the film. Ostensibly a portrait of New York, Skein was filmed on the peripheries of the city: along a route through the New Jersey suburbs. An interviewer asks residents how they think of their home district in relation to Manhattan – which they prefer, how they compare – and various visions of the city and sense of distance from it emerge.
A prominent feature of the film is the use of abstract white sculptural forms that intrude into the video, obscuring the image. These forms are 3D renderings of the spaces around bodies that appear in the interviews, and their emergence is at once incompatible with the documentary image, while also offering a different means of mapping the movement away from the city that the film describes. In the manner in which they obstruct the image on the screen they suggest a process of simultaneous accumulation and erasure, of the multiple forces that impact on a form in its development. Entwistle's presentation of Skein activates the site of the ICA (and its role as a bearer of 'radical' histories) through the display of these agglomerates of negative space. The latter physically manifest the metaphorical gaps within the oral histories, proposing a template for an expanded notion of social, political and historical portraiture.