Film Art in the Body of the City: Moving Image Practice as Performance - Matthew Hawkins

Matthew Hawkins (Coventry University)
‘Film Art in the Body of the City: Moving Image Practice as Performance’
In 2011-12 Matthew Hawkins helped to organise an independent short film festival and a series of filmmaking workshops in the local community of Plumstead, South East London.  He has also worked as a filmmaker in the area since 2006, producing short film, documentary films and experimental works. Being an impoverished community, Plumstead is home to a rich multi-cultural community with a large Indian, Nepalese, Nigerian and Polish population.  This vibrant mix of cultures and ethnicities produce tensions, conflicts, differences and extreme occurrences, all of which feed into the art produced by people living within the boundaries of the place.  Drawing from the work of Gilles Deleuze, Hawkins will screen extracts from his short film and discuss how the affective nature of the place in which artistic work is produced influences the way in which the work is produced as well as the form, style and narrative of the final piece itself. Hawkins has experienced community participation in art production as an unpredictable process, whilst enabling the members of the community to meet and affect each other’s creative output.  The presence of a filmmaker changes the place, as the place changes the artistic work produced.  This mutually affective exchange of forces and events calls into question the traditional borders of film-set-highstreet-participan-consumer-actors, and opens the space to the potential for new lines of creative possibilities.
Matthew is a lecturer in Media Production at Coventry University. His research interests include film theory, focusing on affect and tone in narrative cinema, ethnographic and documentary film, and the pedagogy of film practice.  His current research project is focused on the concept of affective tonality, and how this can be used as a tool for understanding the experience of cinema, and how film theory can emerge through film practice, drawing theoretically on the empiricism of Gilles Deleuze, and findings within the field of neuroscience concerning the body’s role in cognition
He is cofounder of the Edge of the City Film Festival, based in South East London. Matthew arranges screenings of a range of challenging international and domestic films, both short and feature length, to underrepresented audiences on the outskirts of the city. As well as curating a programme of classic films he is also responsible for seeking out original work from emerging and unknown filmmakers to screen in a community traditionally deprived of such material.  He is also involved in organising and delivering free filmmaking and film history workshops to the local people.