Photo: Associations, Dir. John Smith, UK, 1975, 7 mins, 16mm

Guy Sherwin, John Smith, Robert Nelson & Various Artists

Word Associations


29 Nov–07 Dec 2008  •  BFI Southbank, London; CCA, Glasgow; Arnolfini

A programme of discontinuity between narration, text and image. Including Manual Saiz’s employment of John Malkovich’s Spanish dubbing double and Peter Rose’s absurdly hilarious concrete poetry subtitling chaos. 

This film programme brings together films that all deal with the spoken word, or with text as the impetus for sound-image exploration.

It includes:

Robert Nelson’s Bleu Shut: a kind of audience activating, structured film riddle in the manipulation of time, sound and image. The film is a pretty funny yet serious meditation on cinematic time and is a direct challenge to the film viewer to participate in the what they are seeing. Bleu Shut’s guessing game manages to allow different clips of film to remain just what they are (postcards, adverts etc) while giving the task of synthesizing them into a whole ‘film’ over to you the viewer, while still playing with your sense of time with both an aleatory aesthetic and a sense of humor.

It’s a hard one to pin down without giving the game away, but I personally assure you that it’s a lot funnier than how I’ve just described it.

Peter Rose’s Secondary Currents: a film about the relationships between the mind and language. Delivered by an improbable narrator who speaks an extended assortment of nonsense, it is an “imageless” film in which the shifting relationships between voice-over commentary and subtitled narration constitute a peculiar duet for voice, thought, speech, and sound. A kind of comic opera, the film is a dark metaphor for the order and entropy of language


Mile End Purgatorio, Dir. Guy Sherwin, 1 min, 16mm
Associations, Dir. John Smith7 mins, 16mm
Secondary Currents, Dir. Peter Rose15 mins, 16mm
La-Lu, Dir. Josef Robakowski,  2 mins,  Beta
Counter, Dir. Volker Schriner,  7 mins, Beta
Specialised Technicians Required, Dir. Manual Saiz, 1 min, Beta
Bleu Shut, Dir. Robert Nelson,  30  mins, 16mm
Newsprint, Dir. Guy Sherwin, 5 mins, 16mm
Below are online links which you can use for reference. To see the films in their original glory, check with the distributor of the film for their terms and conditions.