Mind the gap!


Due to the access Exceeda obtained to the archives of the British Film Institute, they had a great amount of free footage at their disposal about transport in England between 1950 and 1985. “We wanted to turn those old films into something more contemporary,” explain Xavier Perkins, Mark Pickles and Lucas Kuhn before their show.

For Perkins, the fact that those images were filmed with a very specific public in mind but now have a very different audience is of great importance. The archive they explored had two kinds of documentaries: promotional films about the excellence of the British Railway aimed at the British taxpayer, and audiovisual manuals destined to teach staff how to operate equipment, including the first computers used in the system – huge, complicated boxes. Thus, the perversion of the message doesn´t take place within the message but in the receiver, transformed into “young people keen to dance or interested in sampling”, two unimaginable audiences for the original audiovisual creators.

There were some surprises, such as the announcement “the train to Seville is at platform 10” which started the show. Although the most celebrated one in the upper circles came with the appearance of Jimmy Saville, legendary and eccentric presenter of the now cancelled BBC show Top Of The Pops.

The best received moment in the stalls was the handout of wooden whistles that accurately imitated the sound of a departing train. Thanks to them, the Exceeda machine received a sound response – interventionist and collaborative – that, beyond the applause, celebrated the good atmosphere of the penultimate night at ZEMOS98.


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