Following an intuitive methodology based on an autodidactic approach, Luke Fowler (b. Glasgow, 1978) has created a body of film works that disrupts documentary narrative conventions. His films make up a gallery of episodes and characters that connect diaphanous experiences, the opposite of "a fait accompli". In them, time tends to expand, voices multiply, old 16mm reels merge with new footage, and a plurality of discordant testimonies are brought together around a single event, so that readings are free to move in ambivalent directions.
Luke draws attention to the existence of a gigantic mosaic of individuals who played an important role in history at a particular time and then vanished. Heroic figures never emerge on their own, Fowler reminds us: they are sustained by a dense network of affects and interactions that are then wiped from recorded history, creating an ideological problem of focus between figure and ground. His close collaborations with sound artists including Lee Paterson, Mark Fell, Toshiya Tsunoda, and Eric La Casa revolve around the same ideas, consolidating a demythologising filmmaking approach in which the authorial form is diluted, remixed, and opens up to its potentialities.
In this podcast, Luke Fowler talks about music, computers, and instruments, about infrasound, ultrasound, and thresholds of the listenable, about archives and obsessions, about affect as a film editing criteria, and about the enormous complexity involved in representing a person’s life. We also talk about the forces that make some artists disappear from the cultural canon altogether in spite of having created fascinating, ground-breaking work.
All music by Luke Fowler and Fowler/Youngs
00:00 Research does not stop
04:07 Home computer music-making in the early 90s
05:28 Infrasounds & ultrasound
07:20 16mm and video
09:08 What you see is where you are at.
12:34 Reality is created for documentaries
15:10 Heroicism versus a web of interactions
17:56 Not products but vehicles for experience
19:11 History as a container of models for future societies
22:05 Archival research bordering the obsessive
24:24 "The Poor Stockinger": memos as scripts
30:14 "Electro-Pythagoras (a portrait of Martin Bartlett)": affects and electronic music
33:26 To the editor of amateur photography: superabundance and microstructures
37:58 Everybody has an embodied reading
39:29 "Bogman Palmjaguar": unambivalent portrait
40:56 Depositions: oral memories as a different form of knowledge