Truthfully, it's a work in progress

A blue bulb

Hello and welcome. I'm Alan Clark, part-time lecturer and tutor in film and video and erstwhile Hare Krishna, Geordie punk poet, anti-nuclear activist and lab technician. I've made some short films in which I act, I've written, recorded and performed songs and poems and I have experimented with interactive artworks. This site is a showcase for some of the projects I have made over the years. I have a dream that one day there will a blog and I want to build links to sites about experimental avant-garde films, photography and literature which mean something to me. I am 55 years old and I'm blessed with a loving family, kind friends and an interesting life. Like many in my generation I want to plant a few small seeds which may one day grow into something meaningful and useful for people. Perhaps I am being romantic. I try to use humour and irony in my work. I do believe in the power of love but I don't think that love is all you need. Among the other things you will need here are a recent Shockwave player and a Flash player. Feel the harsh winds on the flyover while struggling to the Swan House dole queue in Thatcher's Britain, with a lot more Nodstalgia.
Click on the images below

Nod Again...

Four competely new Nod works, plus two reworkings.

New Nod WorkIn recent years, I've enjoyed playing the acoustic guitar. I've written the odd piece here and there. Approaching my sixtieeth birthday, I had the inspiration for tunes and words for four pieces, in response to what seems to me a rise of fascism/nationalism here in the UK. 'All The Brilliant Billionaires', 'We Can See You', 'Scratch' and 'Anglo-Saxon'. I hosted them at Soundcloud. I re-did two other songs as Nod works 'Living In A Cupboard' and 'Red Tie'. I had a lot of help from the kind of sophisticated software you can find these days, but the tunes were all worked out on acoustic guitar. I put some rough samples on Soundcloud to prove my point! Playing the guitar is the ideal way to unwind when marking student work in the shed at home. I've got more tunes now that need words. Click on the image to go to the Soundcloud page. Coming up soon, the lost 1980 Nod tape 'I-Kontakt'

Gentle Reminders

Shown at the 5th International Conference on Typography & Visual Communication, June 2013 in Nicosia, Cyprus

Gentle Reminders With support and inspiration from Rebecca Thomas, one of my friends at the University of Herts, I developed a piece about love and free will. (This is 1080p HD video. Choose the highest resolution your bandwidth can handle and watch in full-screen)

No matter how ardent and insistent we feel towards someone, no matter how much in need that person might be and no matter how we might have analysed that need and convinced ourselves that only we can fulfill it, it's not love. Love is an agreement. This is a gentle reminder. The same principle applies on the personal, social and political levels.

Nod in a Whirlwind

A whirlwind from the past. Digitised 2009

The Whirlwind I had the VHS tape of a performance on Tyne Tees TV in 1982 for a number of years. This is the digitised version. I remember being very nervous! The musicians are John Hannon playing guitar, and Peter Thomson on violin. Peter became Lord Mayor of Newcastle in 2001 and as far as I know is still a councillor for Elswick. John continues to compose music and was last heard of in Cornwall. There were two other TV slots. One was a recitation of 'Daz' by a rusty old washing machine in front of Swan Hunter's shipyard in Wallsend and in the other I was doing 'Conspiracy' and 'Everybody Wanna Be a Nartist' for the BBC. I'd be grateful to get copies if anyone has them on tape. Please let me know. Thanks.

Semi-Lime Hat

'...and this thing gets re-activated in me.' 2008, re-edited 2009

Semi-Lime Hat The 2008 American election raised worrying issues of fundamentalism - most of which were missed by the mainstream media. I spent some time looking into Sarah Palin's story. There are some very disingenuous characters behind her. You can hear some of them in the film. There is also live audio from serving soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan celebrating explosions. The images and text are chosen from a large database by an algorithm, although there were touches of lyricism, especially in the choice of sounds. I think this is algorithmic bricolage! This is a new edit, entered for 'Visual Deflections'

Glutinous Platitudes

You must become yourself etc. 2006
Glutinous Platitudes

I've used lines of text from an infamous but now deceased Indian 'godman' - along with a background of image textures and large words from all the spam emails I get. My hope is that by reading a decontextualised deconstruction of this person's words, the viewer may, to a certain extent, become innoculated against this kind of twaddle. I made this one with Javascript and I'm still developing this concept for future work. Follow the yellow star..

Electricity is Stolen

Whose coal is it anyway? 2005
Electricity is stolen...

These massive transmission towers intrude in the landscape carrying the juice which enables our comfortable lives - we pass them by everyday without a thought. A simple Director project, with images of pylons taken in my local area, photoshoppped and animated. The images start to come apart, and as you move the mouse across the moving images, you hear music and the evergreen wisdom of the BBC. Made as an exercise during my MA. Uses Shockwave.

The Snake Bulletin

Love in the undergrowth, 2005

Snake Bulletin An experimental video which seems to have a story, but does each viewer find the same meaning? The movies we see at the cinema have many gaps in meaning which the viewer must complete from conventions or their own experience. Cinema has such power that the viewer creates connections between sequences, even when the connections are random or unintended - this is the famous Kuleshov effect. I find Lev Manovich's description of the workings of database cinema very compelling and I find Peter Greenaway's early work particularly interesting for the often humourous juxtapositions between narrative and shots/images. This was my graduation film. Flash video format.

The Road to Recovery

A new life, through software. 2004
Dandelions on The Road To Recovery

I travelled regularly along a mostly deserted 3 mile country road near Sandridge and it became a kind of meditation. I had a busy life and this was a place where I could reflect and experiment. I would often stop the car and shoot with still and video cameras. I learned about Minor White's expansions of Alfred Stieglitz's idea of equivalence - the theory of the metaphorical and emotional content of a photograph. I looked for a way to bring together the visual experience of travelling the road and refecting on aspects of my internal life at the time. This is the result. Made at the end of my second year of my BA. Flash video format. Stars Don the Geordie Psychologist.

Farther Along...

Love, Technology and eventually a Higher Education. 2001-2004

Farther Along A collection of audio tracks made just before and just after I started University, along with some live renditions from the previous collection. I got very interested in working with sound samples in a programme called Acid. I enjoy the strange juxtapositions that you can make when mixing completely unrelated styles.

Collateral Damage

Meet the new war, same as the old war. 2001-2002

Collateral Damage Songs, poems and music about the global war on tourism. Having just arrived back on Planet Earth, it was a shock to see and experience the paranoia and jingoism of these years. I think knowing what I didn't want to see in the world made me more focused and I was more confident with the digital audio recording process and the use of midi instruments, so this work is a little more sophisticated. I began simple manipulation of images and web page development. Completed just before I started my BA course at University. Flash Audio format.

You Really Need To Get Out More

On losing the plot. 2000-2001
You need to get out more

An eclectic mix of songs, poems and music, written and recorded while undergoing re-entry into the 'real' world. Lots of confusion, experimentation and self-doubt. Good for the creative mix. I was having difficulty re-adjusting to life on Jobseekers Allowance. I was getting into some kind of apocalyptic mode and writing about a dark age when civil liberties were destroyed and people were locked up in camps - then along came 9/11. Get in touch with your dark side, in Flash audio format.

The Master

On waking up from a dream. 1999-200
The Master

The Master has galactic ambitions to bring the one true truth to every sentient being. He's incarnated and re-incarnated millions of times and sends his representatives everywhere in a fleet of turqouise vans. His computer asks all the questions. I was empty after 15 years in the Hare Krishna movement, I was seeing too many conflicts and a desperate shortage of humility. These songs and poems were my way of waking up again, as though from a long sleep. The digital recordings were made in New Delhi, West Bengal and Borehamwood. and are streamed here in Flash audio format.

Nod very likely

Performance and studio recordings of Nod, the Geordie Poet, 1977-84 and some later re-incarnations.

I hope there are moments in every young person's life when they make quantum leaps in understanding. In my early twenties I went to help in the opposition to the Torness nuclear power station. That was quantum leap for me and I gained insight and strength to begin writing and performing. I worked throughout the North-East. I felt strongly that I had something to say - oh the certainty of youth! I took my cues from the Liverpool Poets, Ivor Cutler and Frank Zappa. The rock and roll lifestyle took it's toll though and after repeatedly coming face to face with my own arrogance and selfishness, and yes, some vulnerability, I began to look for a way forward. I was on a spiritual quest. I had to find truth and beauty...

Flash audio format.

Experimental Film, Video, Animation and Documentary

I've made a news page here. It's constantly updated by Google Alerts. I'm working on a more specific UK version

Amateur vs. Professional

Maya Deren The major obstacle for amateur film-makers is their own sense of inferiority vis-a-vis professional productions. The very classification "amateur" has an apologetic ring. But that very word-from the Latin "amateur" - "lover" means one who does something for the love of the thing rather than for economic reasons or necessity. And this is the meaning from which the amateur film-maker should take his clue. Instead of envying the script and dialogue writers, the trained actors, the elaborate staffs and sets, the enormous production budgets of the professional film, the amateur should make use of the one great advantage which all professionals envy him, namely, freedom-both artistic and physical. Artistic freedom means that the amateur film-maker is never forced to sacrifice visual drama and beauty to a stream of words, words, words, words, to the relentless activity and explanations of a plot, or to the display of a star or a sponsor's product; nor is the amateur production expected to return profit on a huge investment by holding the attention of a massive and motley audience for 90 minutes. Like the amateur still-photographer, the amateur filmmaker can devote himself to capturing the poetry and beauty of places and events and, since he is using a motion picture camera, he can explore the vast world of the beauty of movement. (One of the films winning Honourable Mention in the 1958 Creative Film Awards was Round and Square, a poetic, rhythmic treatment of the dancing lights of cars as they streamed down highways, under bridges, etc). Instead of trying to invent a plot that moves, use the movement or wind or water, children, people, elevators, balls, etc. as a poet might celebrate these. And use your freedom to experiment with visual ideas; your mistakes will not get you fired. Physical freedom includes time freedom-a freedom from budget imposed deadlines. But above all, the amateur film-maker, with his small, light-weight equipment, has an inconspicuousness (for candid shooting) and a physical mobility which is well the envy of most professionals, burden as they are by their many-ton monsters, cables and crews. Don't forget that no tripod has yet been built which is as miraculously versatile in movement as the complex system of supports, joints, muscles and nerves which is the human body, which, with a bit of practice, makes possible the enormous variety of camera angles and visual action. You have all this and a brain too, in one neat, compact, mobile package. Cameras don't make films; film-makers make films. Improve your films not by adding more equipment and personnel but by using what you have to its fullest capacity. The most important part of your equipment is yourself: your mobile body, your imaginative mind, and your freedom to use both. Make sure you do use them.

Maya Deren. Film Culture, Winter 1965

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