American film artist David Gatten will show and discuss the first four completed films from his series Secret History of the Dividing Line
"At a time when avant-garde filmmaking leans more toward sensations and form than intellect and analysis, David Gatten's 16mm cycle "Secret History of the Dividing Line" attempts a rare feat: an investigation of the borders between word and image influenced equally by Stan Brakhage and Ludwig Wittgenstein (both veterans of related pursuits). The results are formidable, Gatten's project samples from the massive library of colonial Virginia gentleman William Byrd II, with occasional dips into his daughter Evelyn's journals, producing artfully composed typographies that suss out an invisible web of connections and epiphanies. But Gatten also expresses the indigestible bulk of history's verbiage through a mobile concrete poetry: Not all his quotes allow for reading; some words flutter past too quickly to serve as more than compositional elements, while others appear in negative, close-up and grainy, like luminous alphabetic windows. Attempting to glimpse a lost world recorded through texts, Gatten offers the paper-thin screen between past and present as just one of his project's ultimately ineffable dividing lines." – Ed Halter, Village Voice
David Gatten’s films have shown widely at international museums, cinematheques and festivals. In 2005, he was awarded a Fellowship from Guggenheim Foundation to continue the Secret History of the Dividing Line
series, the first four films of which were presented in a special programme at the New York Film Festival. His recent works Film For Invisible Ink, Case No. 71: Base-Plus-Fog
(an ongoing collaboration with Jessie Stead) will receive their UK premiere at the London Film Festival on 28 October 2007. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Art Institute of Chicago, and in private collections in the United States, Canada and Japan.
Presented in association with The Times BFI 51st London Film Festival.
Secret History of the Dividing Line
2002, 20 mins, 16mm
The Great Art of Knowing
2004, 37 mins, 16mm
Moxon's Mechanick Exercises, or, The Doctrine of Handy-Works Applied to the Art of Printing
1999, 26 mins, 16mm
The Enjoyment of Reading, Lost & Found
2001, 14 mins, 16mm