Terry Flaxton

SOUND/IMAGE19 – Special Guest

Artist’s Statement

“I only know how to make art – everything else fits around that imperative and is drawn in: from drawing, to making music, to understanding technology, to cooking, to walking, to talking, to alliterating. And yet everything else has an imperative within it and this too affects the idea of making art. This behaviour has various titles such as ‘technicity’ where a toolmaker makes a tool to manipulate the world and in turn becomes manipulated both by the new world she has created and also the tool itself – or ‘cortical epigenesis’ a term invented by cognitive neuroscientists which describes that whatever we repeat as an action, conditions the growth of that layer of material that surrounds the brain (where we they mystically and unaccountably attribute the location of the human spirit). Alternatively Antoni Tapies said that ‘the artist is the shaman of the tribe who takes herself onto the mountain to get accept the lightning strike of insight and innovation’. Having received the pain of the entering of knowledge a period of integration occurs such that the newly changed shaman might then come and reveal those insights to the tribe. Cognitive Neuroscientists concur by naming humans as ‘cognitive nodes’ and artists, writers, engineers as ‘cognitive distributive nodes….’

In my talk, which I will illustrate by those ideas gathered in moving image form, about being 66, about being involved in art since I was 8 when I received my first instrument which then morphed into sound composition, about how I learned about all the separate media before the digital era had begun but that its signs were present before its arrival – in my own BA of communication design which was about synthesising the knowledge obtained in one medium – like learning about the golden mean in painting and design and then abstracting that idea to then infer it into sound design, or culinary design, or touch – or even in the use of duration. My teachers were dimly aware that really there is only one sense – the common sense, mind, and that all other senses is a specific attribute of being in the world. I also embrace having forgotten more than I remember and that means I have internalised all of the details so that they become incarnate knowledge that once knowing something gives to those that no longer care for the detail. To that end I have just obtained a doctorate in Higher Resolution Imaging which I have promptly forgotten.”


British artist Terry Flaxton (b. 1953) has worked for decades with sound composition, photography and film, developing a particular interest in analogue video during the 1970s. He received a BA Hons in Communication Design in 1979 and spent over 30 years working as a cinematographer, which included shooting the third ever electronically captured movie with Channel 4 and the BFI’s Out of Order in 1986. His work today focuses on durational forms of the digital including sound, video, print and installation. He is widely recognised as an artist who creates challenging moving image work that has been featured in publications including A History of Video Art, Bloomsbury, 2006 and 2014; Diverse Practices, University of Luton Press, 1996; and A Directory of British Film and Video, Arts Council England, 1997. His works are held in various collections including Lux London, Video les Beaux Jours Strasbourg and AICE Milan. His 2008 work In Re Ansel Adams is in the permanent collections of the Harris Museum in Preston and the Royal West of England Academy of Art.

Screening Selection

Opening Up (excerpt)19761.5
Presentiments (excerpt)    19772
The Gap (excerpt)            19839.75
The World Within Us              198716
Zagorsk    19926
Skin Deep (excerpt)       20001.5
One Second to Midnight    20053.5
In Re Ansel Adams      20081.5
Drawings and Inscriptions (Excerpt) 20155
radiant sound radiant light                 20194.5
ReImagining New York   20193.33
 Arabesque 10


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