Alexander Hetherington

FFWD, The Hallucinating Edge, Pure Movement, CURRENT, Contemporary Scottish Moving Image in China, 17 December 2016 – 15 January 2017

Installation shots from FFWD at Shanghai Minsheng Museum of Art, with screenings at Pure Movement, K11 Art Village, Wuhan and The Hallucinating Edge, Red Brick Art Museum, Beijing


Works in the screenings by

Anne Colvin, Anne-Marie Copestake, Karen Cunningham, Kate Davis, Katy Dove, Kathryn Elkin, Sarah Forrest, Allison Gibbs, Michelle Hannah, Elín Jacobsdottir, Mairi Lafferty, Adam Lewis Jacob, Lyndsay Mann, Duncan Marquiss, Oliver Mezger, Rosalind Nashashibi, Bobby Niven, Hardeep Pandhal, Ross Sinclair, Lucy Skaer, Pernille Spence, Corin Sworn, Tom Varley, Dominic Watson.



My curatorial and critical engagement research time in China was funded by an Open Project Fund award from Creative Scotland.


The works featured in this screening event engage with the performance of non-verbal gesture, expression and movement in physical, imaginary or illusionary spaces.

The apparatus of the camera is evident in these works, drawing the mechanical or digital technologies of the lens closer to that of the operation of the eye and in turn to the workings of the mind.


Lines between fictional accounts, sensory experiences and optical illusions meld with sensibilities drawn from observational cinema, documentary film and factual reporting. In these overlaps of film-making and videography opportunities for ambiguity and contradictions emerge.


New stories appear from ancient, dilapidated and disused places, new thoughts emerge from opportunities to see anew. The abstract is animated and objects and landscapes tell their stories. Gestures of the hand and hand-made give a sense of a tenderness of approach, a sense of craft and touch. Places where youth and age and experience meet are explored, while chances to look again at our memories embedded within technologies and images and how it shapes our identities over time are revealed.


The contemporary gives us forward motion, rapid change and fluid connectivity. Its confluences of time, material and reference are dizzying and quick. Our lives can be experienced as collages and splinters. This screening event gives the hectic pace and rhythms of the contemporary a place of quiet reflection, a time to focus on the poetry, incidentals and musicality of everyday life.



The works featured in this screening event explore different methodologies for the expression of their subjects which lie between real and imagined worlds and across past and present. This includes holding up mirrors to their own lives and the potential to create and inhabit alter-egos.


Familiarity of subject and the mysteries of new discoveries overlap and in doing so stage and represent new possibilities. The pursuit of new ways of experiencing images is explored and some of the images on screen become dimensional and sculptural. Artists have envisioned the future and described a potential to experience parts of it now.


References from contemporary cinema and popular culture overlap with expressions of older worlds, ancient places and past lives and biographies. Artists explore how beauty manifests itself in the most unexpected of places. In turn artists explore how they might, for a time, occupy different stories and timelines outside of themselves, all the while being in different places and times.


Language is explored as unreliable and open for interpretation. The contemporary is a place of endless layers and overlaps, the potential to meander through different narratives from past, present and future have become unlimited to us. In this screening artists can be seen in these halls of mirrors, giving us and them a place of self-reflection.

Alexander Hetherington