It’s all happening in the bank and at www.bankjob.pictures
As BBC White City was demolished and redeveloped 8 commissions took place in its East Tower –due for imminent removal. The project ‘Multistory’ took inspiration from the tower’s history as home to BBC children’s television and staged one last epic story for the towers demise. Taking the format of Jackanory as a starting point, a lone celebrity reading a famous story was replaced by locally recruited people from 6 to 80 invited in to sit in an armchair and read from Ted Hughes’ ‘Iron Man’ – a staple text of Jackanory and a tale of destruction and renewal. As people read children from White City Adventure Playground took pleasure in destroying the building around them.
A manuscript found in an attic led to a voyage to Ukraine in search of family history and in the process finding a vodka distillery formally belonging to director Dan Edelstyn’s ancestors. The feature film ‘How To Re-Establish A Vodka Empire’ travels through history and politics from post Perestroika Ukraine to the Northern Ireland where he grew up and where his Jewish Grandmother, author of a romantic manuscript not unlike Dr Zhivago ended up buried in an unmarked grave in the Catholic cemetery on the Falls Road.
In a bid to reconnect with history and connect a declining town in Northern Ukraine with a European Market Dan and Hilary set up a social enterprise vodka brand ‘Zorokovich 1917’ - stocked in Selfridges and top UK cocktail bars.
The film premiered at the Times BFI London Film Festival and received 4 star reviews in Empire, Times and Irish Times. It was released by Picture House in the UK after Curzon and ICA screenings and toured internationally with support from The Kroll Foundation for Jewish Culture for US distribution. The film combined documentary with original model making and green screen animation. The soundtrack by Andrew Skeet was recorded by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and released on Universal.
During the films making a series of events ‘Optimistic Immigrants’ brought together other stories and celebrations of migration at venues from the Jewish Museum to the East End Film Festival and UCL Urban Laboratory.
“Sincere, charming and inventive filmmaking” British Film Institute.
“A barnstorming tale of vodka and revolution.” BBC Radio.
“Unfolds as a travelogue, a memoir, a historical recreation and a detective story.” Irish Times.
“A tender, extraordinary underdog tale filled with humour, fear and above all, spirit. A heady delight of a documentary that will warm your cockles.” Empire Magazine.
“Think Jonathan Safran Foer’s ‘Everything is Illuminated’ but fuelled by vodka rather than heavy handed pathos: it’s Everything is Inebriated..Edelstyn is such an engaging travelling companion. Witty, a bit feckless and often half-cut, he would be the perfect dinner party guest – and he’d bring a bottle.” The Times.
Commissioned by Channel 4.
Supported by BritDoc (now DocSoc) ‘Good Pitch’, Ukrainian Airlines, The Shoresh Charitable Trust, The Edelstyn family, Babelgum, World View, The Scottish Documentary Institute, Michael Aminian, The Spiro Ark and a ‘Vodka Club’ in which people supported the film in exchange for official papers and vodka and entry to events and screenings.
Co-produced with Dartmouth Films.
In September 2014 a production line opened in the area of Stratford, East London formally home to countless print works. The aim of this production line employing and training a diverse selection of people was to make an edition of pop-up books built from the history of this changing area and in doing so bring people together to think about this change.
The culmination of years of research, making and community engagement in the area the pop up book ‘Legend: An A-Z of the Lea Valley’ charts an alternative moving history of the area of East London transformed to stage the London 2012 Olympic Games. This handheld animation of regeneration is local and universal charting and reimagining industrial decline, mutating place names, flora and fauna and local legends. The book is represented by Kaleid Editions who took it straight from production line to the 2014 London Art Book Fair at the Whitechapel Gallery where it was awarded the Birgit Skiold Award for Excellence. It is in the collections of MoMA New York, V&A, Yale Centre for British Art and many more.
Pop Up Pop Up was the finale production of Hilary Powell’s AHRC Fellowship in the Creative and Performing Arts at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. It was supported by Arts Council England, UCL, Institute of Making and London Borough of Newham.
Ring Cycle involved the creation of an epic audio visual symphony with the communities and landscape of Purfleet, Essex. It transposes Wagner’s epic cast of gods and mortals into a contemporary Thameside landscape. From river maidens on concrete barges to exiled gods and shopping trolleys, this allegory of industrial capitalism takes place on the fringes of London just inside its own ring of the M25.
The film with performed live score made in collaboration with the Cabinet of Living Cinema reveals a place where the toxic and angelic combine in a 21stC version of the sublime. A mobile foley studio of found objects, played by local sound artists and accompanied by a chorus of local singers, sound the whoosh of wind turbines and the call of birds, bringing the film to vivid life.
The project came about through Hilary’s Stephen Cripp’s Studio Award – a major creative development award from Acme’s residency and awards programme supported by the family of Stephen Cripps, Henry Moore Foundation and High House Production Park (Royal Opera House Thurrock, Backstage Centre). It was supported by Arts Council England and the collaboration of local organizations from RSPB Rainham Marshes to Purfleet Heritage Centre.
Ring Cycle was longlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2018 and features in Future Now. The film has screened at festivals internationally from East End Film Festival 2018 to Thunderdance, Suburbinale and Delete TV.
Made in February 2007 ‘The Games’ staged a surreal DIY Olympics with and amid the communities and sites that would make way for the London 2012 Olympics.
The Games won Audience Award at the East London Film Festival 2008 and is available to view in the BFI Mediatheque as part of the ‘London Calling’ collection. First co-commissioned by Urbis, Manchester for the exhibition Play: Experience the Adventure of our Cities, it has screened widely on BBC Big Screens, Hackney Museum,Abandon Normal Devices, Animate Projects, Beyond Media: Archive, Visions. International Architecture Videos, Visions in the Nunnery, Bow Arts Trust, East on Screen, The Lift, Stratford Park, First, London East Research Institute, Canary Wharf Film Festival, Chisenhale Biennale, NLA RIBA Architecture Week, Rolling Stock Festival, Land of Kings and back in the communities who helped make it happen from Clays Lane Housing Estate to Manor Garden Allotments and more recently on the new Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The making of the film over 2 cold weekends consolidated relationships and a deep engagement with the changing site that would lead to sustained work and projects including Pop Up Pop Up, Pudding Mill River and the co-edited book The Art of Dissent.
‘It’s a wacky, audacious, often rather beautiful comedy satirising Riefenstahlian pomposity’ Peter Bradshaw. A real Olympian Vision. The Guardian.
The brief was to illuminate Archway and most specifically a sunken precinct by the tube entrance and underneath the forboding Archway tower. The project – to bring together people from the area and further afield every week over a cold winter to occupy this underused area as a roller skating rink. Participatory fun led to the creation of an animation film as every week skaters came and had lights attached to heads, elbows and knees and with flash camera stills photograph we crafted a film made from thousands of these stills. The film was premiered on the site of its making, projected onto the building above with a public roller disco below. The local betting shop was transformed into a skate hire (free) for the night a, accompanied by a mobile sound system people skate d the night away.
The project was commissioned by AIR with TFL and London Borough of Islington.
Hilary reconnected with her Welsh roots when she won the Josef Herman Foundation Cymru Studio Residency at London’s Curwen studio specializing in lithography. The remit was to take inspiration from the work of Josef Herman – a Polish émigré artist who settled in the coal mining village of Ystradgynlais in the 1940s and created a body of work that portrayed the landscape and people. His ‘Notes from a Welsh Diary’ became a starting point to examine the very different contemporary landscape of industrial decline and recovery. The mission was to find miners leading to a tour of working men’s clubs, welfare halls and CISWO (Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation) coffee mornings, meeting people whos lives have been formed and scarred by this fossil fuel.
Help from the National Union of Mineworkers led to of the last working coal mines of South Wales, taking the photographs that would then become the stone lithograph and lithographic portrait series ‘Farewell Rock: The Last Miners of South Wales.’ When a miner is injured the presence of coal dust in the wound creates blue scars. They call it ‘being mapped.’ These portraits are also maps – layered coal faces produced through the processes of stone and offset lithography and printed using coal dust.
Farewell Rock is the band of sandstone that lies below the coal measures. Once reached it signals ‘a farewell to riches’ and the end of coal – fitting as the last open cast mines in the region are mothballed and the colliery faces an uncertain future.
The prints with an accompanying film have been exhibited throughout Wales and beyond, standing sentry over Cardiff’s as they occupied the boarded up windows of Merchant Place in the city’s former coal quarter as part of Ffotogallery’s Diffusion Festival, in the National Museum of Wales and selected for the National Original Print Exhibition.
Urban Alchemy is an investigation into demolition – its materials and the people who undertake it. It has involved residencies on active demolition sites in East London with McGees, John Hunt and Maylarch and led to a both a residency with East London Printmakers and Leverhulme Trust artist’s residency with UCL Chemistry working with UCL Estates department, The Institute of Making and the demolition contractors on the UCL site. It uses the materials of the demolition site as a way in to physical, artistic experiments and collaborations and also the often overlooked stories of these materials and the people who work with them. Outputs include large scale etchings into roofing zinc including portraits of demolition workers, a book ‘Urban Alchemy’ containing poetics narratives of the life cycles of materials from copper to asbestos, large scale public print events and collaborative experiments pushing the potential of stone lithography, etching and other traditional print methods on these unconventional materials. As the book, prints and films from the project travel the work has led to ongoing collaborations across science, print and making and is ongoing and developing constantly.
Pudding Mill River was a long-term (2008-12) multifaceted project in food, film and fiction. Established in 2008 but forging an identity much more historic Pudding Mill River: Purveyors in Sporting Spirits and foodstuffs promoted itself as an established local wild food manufacturer evicted from the Olympic park site and forced to guerilla gather around its edgelands. Its founder and CEO Kronos Adam and team of dedicated scientists were often seen harvesting on the edges of the Olympic construction site and inviting others to join them and share the area’s fruitful bounty.
In this guise, we hosted numerous foraging walks with groups like the Building Exploratory’s Senior BEES and events accompanied by this wild bounty from ‘Breakfast of Champions’ at Lift festival in Stratford Park to an evening at ArtProjx. We took every opportunity to share the wares and promote Pudding Mill River’s plight with stalls at V&A and other alternative fetes around the capital. The product range includes vintages of the ultimate in Olympic Spirit – Sloe Lea Gin alongside the blackberry and rose ranges and classic East Marsh Elderflower Fizz. We sponsored events examining the changing landscape providing delicious blackberry based goods for debates around the regeneration of our harvesting grounds.