MOTHS perfume

Modern Edinburgh Film School combines moving image, curating, collaboration, publications and critical writing. These work together on themes of learning about film and its ideas, working with moving image artists and their films, sculpture and poetry. Find out more about their latest project, MOTHS below.

MOTHS is a partial or pretend narrative presented between public and private (hidden) spaces alluding to their multiple and prior occupancy and historical functions and across artists’ images, films, readings, performances and sculptures. It employs cues from a spectrum of dark and light and comedy and tragedy with gestures that attach to and detach from themes of human interactions with animal information, natural and synthetic substances and methods of healing, evocative, sensorial or secretive sculptural actions, their material properties and suggested narratives, and recollections of the factual and science fiction.

It has been inspired by works by the Glasgow-based visual artist Lucy Skaer, and her particular approach to sculpture and moving image: “As an artist who once claimed to have secreted moth and butterfly larvae into the Old Bailey and reportedly left a scorpion and a diamond lying side by side” as well as sculptural works in copper, resin and mahogany and screen printed photographs for her show Harlequin Is As Harlequin Does at Murray Guy Gallery in New York in 2012: “these sculptures are like figures that act, interrupt, deflect, and solicit. Each has the pretence of a narrative, the mahogany, for example, is over a century old; it was salvaged from a riverbed in Belize where it had sunk while in transit to the UK.”

The core of the MOTHS project is a broadsheet newspaper edition with a series of 8 screen printed ‘colour supplements’, a schedule of film and video screenings, a reading and performance, and sculptural objects whose material properties relate to the ephemeral and to metamorphosis. Some of the works in the exhibition are hidden or slight, ephemeral or like the newspaper and editions, made to disappear, to exit the gallery.

strain Andromeda
Strain Andromeda The by Anne McGuire

Mairi Lafferty
Work by Mairi Lafferty

Contributing artists are Zoë Fothergill who re-screens her video ‘Fur, Bizmuth & Spiny Oyster’, a work where she explores tactility and the sensorial, the state of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response: a perceptual and pleasurable response to visual, aural or tactile stimulus. American artist Anne McGuire will screen her video work ‘Strain Andromeda The’, the 1970s seminal science fiction film about an extra-terrestrial virus, cut scene-by-scene in backward chronology, documentation of Lucy Skaer’s sculptures will be reproduced in the newspaper alongside a new print by Edinburgh-based artist Mairi Lafferty, Glasgow based artist Katrina Vallé will present a reading which takes as its starting point an exploration of the spectrum from light to dark, dusk to dawn, while Amy Pickles will present a new performance. London based film artist Anna Lucas will be screening her film ‘Una de Gato’ which documents her journey to find the home of this rare plant, also known as Cat’s Claw, her film alludes to its association with numerous medicinal, spiritual and superstitious beliefs and in a double bill with Australian artist Allison Gibbs’ work ‘SPIRIT SHADOW SPECTRE BONES and PHANTOM’, a work based around the making of ‘Tabu: A Story of the South Seas’ (1931), the final film produced by the German Expressionist director F.W Murnau. It starts with an article published by Allison in the magazine ‘Tahiti-Pacifique’, an exploration of the Polynesian Ti plant and a visit to a medium.

SPECTRE by Allison Gibbs
SPECTRE by Allison Gibbs

Bone by Jenny Brady
Bone by Jenny Brady

Dublin-based artist Jenny Brady screens two recent films – ‘Bone’ which draws on research into methods of non-verbal exchange developed in animal science, it considers whether language is primarily an instrument of communication or control and ‘Wow and Flutter’, which alludes to a scientific collaboration between animal cognition scientist Irene Pepperberg and an African Grey parrot she trained in elements of human language. While Bobby Niven represents sculptural work from his film ‘ISLAND’, shot at Inchgarvie, underneath the Forth Rail Bridge, the film explores its intricate and strange cultural landscape, military outpost, isolated refuge for syphilis victims, later a prison and quarantine for plague victims.

The newspaper also carries a text on Henry Coombes’ film ‘Two Discs and a Zed’, which sees a wolf set free in the National Galleries of Scotland to gaze mysteriously at Rodin’s ‘The Kiss’ and Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece ‘The Feast of Herod’. This text makes references to Peter Greenaway’s ‘A Zed and Two Noughts’, a gothic fantasy set in a zoo, the ‘House of Wax’ and Peter Weir’s film of disappearance and the sublime: ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’.

With thanks to Gregor Morrison, LUX and Video Data Bank, Chicago.

MOTHS will be at Summerhall, Edinburgh from 4 June – 15 July 2015. 

Modern Edinburgh Film School produced a series of projects in 2013 across Edinburgh on film and sculpture and in 2014 produced ‘The Silver River’, at Gallery of Modern Art, programmed as part of Glasgow International and has curated the film programme for the exhibition ‘Ripples on the Pond’ at Gallery of Modern Art, which is currently on display until April 2016. Recent writing includes Stan Douglas, Isa Genzken, Anna Oppermann, Hugo Canoilas and Florian and Michael Quistrebert. Find our more about Modern Edinburgh Film School on Central Station here.

More: Website | Twitter


Find more events in our weekly bulletin here.