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Luke Fowler ‘Being in a Place’

Sunday 5 November 2023

Being in a Place is not a conventional biographical portrait of the late Scottish filmmaker and poet Margaret Tait (1918 – 1999). It rather proposes a dialogue between Fowler’s practice as a filmmaker and that of Tait’s. Fowler engages with Tait’s paper and sound archive but most importantly with her native Orkney, where she lived and filmed for most of her life, using the landscape and materials of Tait’s films in order to make his own. Employing Tait’s unrealised project Heartlandscape as a ‘score,’ Fowler’s film is structured in chapters that respond to the evocative titles in Tait’s unfinished script: Garden PiecesVisions of EphemeralitySeveral Portraits… The proposal, written for Channel 4 in 1983, was never completed. The film also draws upon newly recovered and restored film material that was discovered in the garden shed of the house Tait shared with her husband Alex Pirie. Being in a Place draws attention to Tait’s unrealised film projects, to a ‘fugitive archive’ of rushes, sound tapes and unmade films which cannot find its home in traditional collections but continues to be preserved under the custodianship of Tait scholar Prof. Sarah Neely, the film’s co-producer. It also draws attention to the difficulties of the independent filmmaker, then and now.

The screening will be followed by a conversation with Luke Fowler and Giulia Gregnanin.

Luke Fowler (b. 1978, Glasgow) is an artist, filmmaker and musician based in Glasgow. His films have been described as “para-documentary” and often interweave archival footage with his own camerawork and sounds. Fowler’s film portraits often hinge on controversial figures or movements which have often been marginalised, erased or misrepresented by contemporary culture. Fowler studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee. Fowler was awarded the inaugural Derek Jarman Award in 2008 and was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2012 for his first feature film All Divided Selves. Fowler’s short film Mum’s Cards was awarded the 2019 Scottish Short Film Award at Glasgow Short Film Festival as well as the prize for Best Short at Punto de Vista International Documentary Film Festival of Navarre, Spain.