'On Magic Tricks & Miracles' by Simon Pummell

Tuesday 28 June 2022, 19:30 - 20:30 hrs.

Tuesday 28 June, 19:30 | Netherlands Film Academy (Cinema on the 2nd floor)

We invite you to join our public lecture On Magic Tricks & Miracles by Simon Pummell on the 28th of June at 19:30. RSVP via this link.

On Magic Tricks & Miracles 
In 1895 the Lumière brothers set up a camera outside their own factory door and recorded 46 seconds of the workers leaving the factory in as much fidelity as possible. It is often cited as the first documentary.  After seeing the Lumière’s first projected films, a stage magician - Georges Méliès - realised that the new technology of cinematic recording and projection could add new layers of mystery and spectacle to his magical stage shows. The cinematic traditions of the Lumières’ realism and of Méliès’s Trick Films have remained distinct paths throughout the history of cinema.

As a film maker that has in the main worked within animation, city symphony, science fiction and fantastic films - all marginal genres of cinema that are the step-children of Méliès’s original ‘trick films’ - I am drawn to make films that offer enhanced, exaggerated and distorted worlds as magic tricks: each an extension of the observed world into a re-written, reconstructed and re-imagined world, built from disparate and often unlikely elements. Yet I also research, teach and make work within the new and rapidly developing tradition of ‘artistic research’.

Can the cinematic tradition that follows Méliès be in any meaningful way research? What kind of knowledge or value might it produce?  In this lecture I will share a range of past work and projects currently in development: exploring possible ways to engage in what Jean Luc Godard has described as ‘research through spectacle’.

About Simon Pummell
Simon Pummell is a BAFTA and BIFA winning animator, film writer-director and educator. His work has been screened in official competition and won numerous awards in a wide range of international film festivals including Venice, Berlin, Locarno, Rotterdam, AFI Los Angeles, Oberhausen, and many others. Widely seen on television, including UK’s Channel4 and BBC as well as many international channels, his works have been distributed theatrically and digitally by Pathé, Samuel Goldwyn and Sony Home Entertainment, the British Film Institute, and UK cult film distributor Arrow Film among others.

In recent years, Pummell has shown animated films as moving image installations at contemporary art museums including TENT Rotterdam, Boijmans Museum Rotterdam, M HKA Antwerp, KASK Gent, Carpenter Centre Harvard University and The Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Major museums that have screened his films include: Tate Gallery, ICA London, EYE Film-Museum Amsterdam, Cinéma du réel Centre Pompidou, Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

His work builds an interface between academy-based research-driven art practice and commercially distributed cinema and television. The central focus of his work is the liminal area between our fragile individual identities and our collective patterns of behaviour as human animals: problematising divisions such as sane/insane, human/animal, and anatomical/technological.

Pummell is currently an Associate Research Professor and the Director of the Lens-Based Media Programme at the Piet Zwart Institute for Graduate Research and Study, Rotterdam.  Prints of all Pummell’s films and his working archive have been acquired by the EYE Film Museum Amsterdam for permanent preservation.

Details of individual works can be found at www.pummell.com.