Recently I had the privilege to work alongside Artist Gareth Jones (1965). Gareth studied Fine Art during the mid 80’s before moving on to varied projects such as a new edition of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (with Four Corners Books) and a solo exhibition at the Milton Keynes Gallery. In 2006 he received a Paul Hamlyn Award for Visual Arts.
It was quickly apparent that Gareth influences are Utopian architecture, in particular Milton Keynes where he grew up as a child. In 2011 he produced a short film entitled “Looking for Milton Keynes“.
Spending time in Oxford provided him with the opportunity to explore this further. Rather than focusing on the traditional sandstone views of Oxford, Gareth wanted to showcase the city’s modernism, a side often overlooked.
The end result is part meditative science fiction travelogue steeped in mid-21st century pop-culture and part art-house (in the style of La Jetée). If you are unfamiliar with La Jetée, its director Chris Marks didn’t have money to shoot on film and instead used black and white photographs to tell the story (with music and a voice over). La Jetée would go on to form the inspiration for Terry Gilliam’s film Twelve Monkeys.
We decided to use a similar stylistic approach but with colour. I admired Gareth’s photographs taken from his tiny Olympus pocket-cam (the way he used composition, geometry and the contrasts between light and shadows). The rest of the film (scripting, sound recording, audio sound-scape, editing) all needed to come together very quickly being as Gareth was planning to show the film with his exhibition.
Hopefully we succeeded in showcasing a less familiar (and occasionally alien) side of the Oxford city landscape.
(Vimeo link: Cityscape 9)