Keeping sight of the bigger Picture…

10 Seconds or Greater, Rachel Reupke. Picture This Atelier 2010

Within this blog, we want to engage our communities in a discussion about what we would like to see happen in the arts and the provision for artists film and video. Join us to determine the future of our arts communities by safe guarding artistic excellence and the role of experimentation within the arts ecology today.

What does Picture This provide?

Picture This is a commissioning agency, residency programme, and exhibition space specialising in artists’ film and video.  In 2012 Picture This will be 20 years old and we will be celebrating our achievements with a special programme entitled Past Continuous. From our base in Bristol, our programme prioritizes the connections and relationships between process-led artistic research and production that is committed to excellence and widening the audiences for art.

Picture This does the following:

  • Supports artists by commissioning new projects
  • Collaborates with and drives a wide range of partnerships
  • Curates an exhibition programme
  • Provides space for diverse artistic research and residencies
  • Disseminates research through our web site www.picture-this.org.uk and publications
  • Develops debate and discussion through a public programme
  • Offers exhibition, production and post production services

The achievements of Picture This are remarkable and demonstrate an ambition that far outstrips the amount of public subsidy received. We have recently learnt that we have not been granted NPO status from Arts Council England. Whilst this is a blow Picture This will continue through alternative funding streams and pursue a mixed economy established as way of working since 1992. Picture This has never been so active as we are today and we feel passionately about moving forward with our plans.

We are one of the few organisations in the UK that offer production, exhibition and technical support onsite. The Picture This atelier is our exhibition space; part studio, part gallery – which creates fundamental interconnections between process, production, participation and our audiences. Supporting the process and production of new work is at the heart of what we do.

We have often commissioned key works at a crucial stage in an artist’s career development. These works have been shown far and wide including at international festivals such as Manifesta and Venice Biennale. Our alumni includes: Emily Wardill, Lucy Gunning, Ryan Gander, Rosalind Nashashibi, Harrison & Wood, Daphne Wright, Mathew Noel-Todd, Tony Sinden, John Smith and many many more.

In 2010 our projects included:

  • Hito Steyerl’s ‘After the Crash’ commissioned in partnership with Chisenhale (London) and Collective Gallery (Edinburgh)
  • ‘Slow Action by Ben Rivers commissioned in partnership with Animate Projects and shown initially as a four-screen installation at Picture This atelier and touring to Matts Gallery as a single screen work.
  • Rachel Ruepke’s Ten Seconds or Greater’ made as a recipient of the Bristol Mean Time residency supported by Film London.
  • Exhibition of influential early works by Tony Sinden

Behind the scenes at Picture This our services and technical expertise continue to support and develop projects. Recent presentations include:

  • Installing our 2007 commission Dawn Chorus by Marcus Coates at Milton Keynes Gallery, a work that has now entered the Arts Council Collection.
  • Setup and supply of systems for high definition, multi-channel installations at Artes Mundi 4, National Museum Wales.
  • Installing a complex six screen, high definition installation for Paradise by Sergio Vega at IKON Eastside.
  • Prototype development of a new commission To The River by Sophy Rickett, ready for installation at Venice Biennale 2011.

Our current and forthcoming programme include

  • Mathieu Abbonenc at Gasworks (London) coming to Picture This in May
  • A new work by Yael Davids
  • Petra Bauer in partnership with the Showroom (London)
  • Sea-Change, a residency for a London based artist to make a new work at Picture This in partnership with Film London and Lighthouse (Brighton).

Our public programmes include ‘New Cut’ a series of short shows that continues with an overview of recent works by Anne Tallentire. We regularly hold talks and events and screenings as a way to inform, engage and communicate current thinking.

30 March 2011, Filming in Picture This Atelier for current commission with Maryam Jafri, Avalon
30 March 2011, Filming in Picture This Atelier for current commission with
Maryam Jafri, Avalon
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26 Comments on “Keeping sight of the bigger Picture…”

  1. Jamie Wyld, Head of Media Arts, Lighthouse says:

    Picture This is an incredibly important part of the artists’ moving image and contemporary art landscape; their generous support to artists and excellent work as leaders in the field (as well as being superb partners to work with) makes them too valuable to lose. Lighthouse is working with Picture This this year along with Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network to deliver Sea-change, which will support a moving image artist through a residency and commission. Picture This will provide invaluable support to the artist’s production and artistic process during the programme, performing an integral part in the Sea-change project. Picture This’ work has been vital to stimulating and supporting artists’ moving image, giving their support to artists such as Ben Rivers, Emily Wardill and Rachel Reupke, artists who are recognised as leaders in their practice. It is without doubt that Picture This are an integral part of enabling artists’ film and video in the UK to thrive.

  2. Picture This is one of the few organisations in the UK to support moving image practice at a high level, through production, support, distribution and curation. Moving images are an essential part of understanding and processing events, ideas and narratives in the 21st Century, even more so in the hands of artists and filmmakers operating on the fringes of this mainstream medium. So it seems very shortsighted to be targeting new media organisations for cuts in this way.

  3. I have worked with Picture This since 1996 on a number of projects. The reason for this is that it is a professional organisation with real expertise and when working on projects it brings all this to the partnership. I do not know why ACE decided to not fund Picture This under its national portfolio but this would not stop me from recommending Picture This or working with it in the future. there is a huge potential loss to the commissionining and distribution of artists’ moving image.

  4. We have collaborated with Picture This over the last three years in delivering the residency project Bristol Mean Time. This gave three London based artists the opportunity to work in the supportive environment that Picture This offers and have access to their many valuable resources and expertise. Three important new moving image works were produced by Emily Wardill, Matthew Noel-Tod and Rachel Reupke, works that have gone on to be screened and exhibited widely. This residency has been a key element in the slate of projects we offer to London based artists working in the moving image, and we’re really excited that it will be continuing this year as Sea-change, with the added input of the Lighthouse, Brighton as a commissioning partner. The continuation of Picture This’ excellent work is vitally important to the sector overall. We very much hope that its future can be secured.

  5. Benjamin Cook, Director, LUX says:

    Picture This is really a key organisation for artists’ moving image in the UK as well as in the South West of England. Over the years they have produced many important projects and supported numerous artists. As well as having a unique set of skills and facilities, Picture This is a committed and generous organisation that all who have worked with them will attest to.

  6. Marcus Coates, Artist says:

    Picture This is a unique arts organisation. Artists video and film is becoming increasingly, culturally influential, as more and more artists use it, seeking ambitious ways to utilise the moving image and reflect our changing world. I don’t know of any other organisation that would have been able to provide the fund raising capabilities, technical expertise, conceptual development, production support, community networks and exhibition space that was essential to produce and exhibit my work – Dawn Chorus in 2007. Picture This continue to support my work technically and for production advice. They are one of the few organisations in the UK that are able to offer up to date advice about the rapidly evolving and confused technology of digital video and film making/screening, making them a vital uk and regional resource. Their ambitious, innovative outlook continues to produce and support groundbreaking artist’s works that have become internationally significant. This together with all of their work marks this organisation out as a cultural necessity.

  7. Matilda Strang says:

    I worked with Picture This in 2007 for a period of three months as part of the paid internship program. At the relatively difficult stage of my academic and professional life where I had just finished my degree, the opportunity was of significant value both in terms of providing young graduates with opportunities that contribute to the next stages, but also providing a financial stability which is hard to find. I’m now based in London finishing a MFA in Curating at Goldsmiths and working both on freelance projects and with Standpoint Gallery. My time with Picture This gave me confidence and enthusiasm for working in the arts.

  8. Rachel Reupke says:

    I made “10 Seconds or Greater” with Picture This over a period of 3 months in 2009. It was my most ambitious project to date, many aspects of which I had no prior experience – including a set build, shooting in HD and working with actors. Crucially, the level of expertise available in-house, both in terms of production and technical know-how, enabled me to make a work that felt totally uncompromised, yet on a pretty small budget. There was a unique level of support, right through pre-production to final exhibition installation, that I have certainly never experienced anywhere else. The loss of PT’s ACE funding is a real blow to everyone with any interest in film and video and I truly hope the organisation finds a way to continue its good work.

  9. Matthew Noel-Tod says:

    Picture This are a unique organisation in the UK arts scene and their activities are unparalleled. The ACE funding cut is a horrifically shortsighted measure which threatens to undermine all the excellent work done at Picture This to date.

    Picture This plays a crucial role locally, nationally and internationally in providing a platform and home for excellence in artists’ moving image. Their combination of cutting edge curatorial work and unique project commissioning, combined with the great gallery space and outstanding technical expertise makes them indispensable.

    Picture This played a huge part in supporting and pioneering the growth of artists’ moving image over the last decade. Now, with more artists and galleries than ever working with moving image and the breadth of material production and exhibition becoming ever wider (celluloid to digital) Picture This should be central to this scene, not marginalised. ACE money that does go to commissioning moving image work will now increasingly be spent in the private sector for production and post production. ACE should be continuing to support a viable model for employability and expertise within the arts sector.

    I undertook a 3 month Film London / Picture This production residency at Picture This in 2008 and it was a brilliantly supported period of work which I can’t imagine any other UK organisation being able to offer an artist. The resulting film, Blind Carbon Copy, was shown at Picture This and the ICA and subsequently featured in frieze and Art Monthly.

    I have continued to work with Picture This and am shocked that they have not been recognised by ACE for funding support.

  10. Over many years, Picture This has led nationally and internationally in commissioning, producing and presenting experimental and artists’ film and video of the highest quality. The specialist advice and technical support offered to artists is unrivalled in the region. The focus on experimental moving image work within their public programme is likewise unique.
    Professionally I have enjoyed many fruitful collaborations with Picture This, especially in the field of learning and engagement around artists’ moving image practices. On a personal level I have found their support for and presentation of new artists’ film essential.
    While their projects have been acclaimed internationally, Picture This also holds a critical place within the creative landscape of Bristol. As well as providing important support for artists locally, their activities have formed a significant focal point around which practice, thought and community can thrive. At a time when moving image practices are leading the field of contemporary art, the ongoing presence of this unique organisation in Bristol, and the continuation of its many vital activities, should be insisted upon.

  11. Carey Young says:

    As a visual artist working in the UK, it is hard to get the support and funding to create new video works. The medium is inherently expensive and technically complex. It is crazy of ACE to savagely cut such a well regarded and respected organisation as Picture This, with such a great track record. Not only is this a loss to Bristol, this is a loss to all UK artists who work with video, and to UK audiences (let alone the many international audiences who also benefit from these works.) ACE is wrong to assume that such works will get commissioned anyway. Artists’ film and video needs specialist commissioners and technical centres of excellence such as Picture This.

  12. It was a great concern to the whole of BRISTOL DIVING SCHOOL when it was announced Picture This were to have their ACE funding cut. For reasons that only seem like a foreshortening with regards to the crucial support and continual sustainability of the production and showcase of artists film and video work, it is a frustrating and worrying outcome.

    BRISTOL DIVING SCHOOL are an artist led gallery and studio space situated just a minutes walk from Picture This. What is frustrating, is that since operating from our site, we have often referred to the way in which Picture This has operated. This is both through its engaging use of the Atelier space, treating it as a site to test, film and exhibit, but also via an online presence and the thorough archival database.

    But what is perhaps more worrying is the reality that small organisations, albeit which operate with such sufficiency and professionalism, that reach and engage with such wide audiences, working with both local and International emerging and current artists, cannot have this same level of support returned.

    BRISTOL DIVING SCHOOL is currently ran as a not for profit organisation, choosing not to rely on any funding bodies. It is a distressing reflection in light of the recent cuts if we choose to extend upon our current base in the future. We hope that the integrity and development of the PT programme will not disdain, and remain as an integral part of the artist film and video cultural output within Bristol and further afield community.

  13. The staff at Picture This supported me during an internship in 2008 where I was offered the opportunity to work alongside the small, dedicated team for 6 months. The advice, knowledge and skills I gained helped to develop my confidence and provide me with the experience needed to develop my career in arts management. The future of Picture This is crucial not only to the development of artists’ film and video, but also to support careers for young arts workers through their unique internship programme.

  14. I made a film called Session, commissioned by Picture This, which looked at the appalling outcomes for African Caribbean men in the British mental health system as part of a series of events in the context of the 200th anniversary of Abolition.
    The support I was offered through the organisation, specifically the technical and production support was remarkable. The building and the staff opened up to the work, accomodated people and systems, hosted a complex production process and offered a smooth transition from my edit suite to theirs. The professionalism and the dialogue was exactly what any artist could hope for and should be offered as a means and a resource of realisation. Picture This are flexible and sensitive. It is crucial to artist film that this PLACE exists and a word of mouth and artist to artist connection is made via a hub like here. They really care about the work they bring to fruition and manage so carefully. I made really good friends there and I am very disappointed that the gargantuan efforts of my colleagues and friends, their specific contribution to the culture of Artist Film in this country, has been overlooked at this time.

    I also feel it is important to consider Picture This in terms of gender and acknowledge the work of women.

  15. Bridget Crone says:

    Picture This seems to me to be an exemplar of a small organisation doing so very much very well – not the least of which I would list as strong, relevant and exciting programming. Furthermore, Picture This’s commissioning through partnerships as well as the support offered both to artists and to other organisations in terms of production and presentation of work seems to be successfully striving towards the golden grail – sustainability – that is so lauded by the Arts Council in its efforts to build the portfolio of organisations for 2012 onwards. In light of this, the decision to cut ACE funding to Picture This seems confusing and contradictory. And of course it’s very disappointing.

    My congratulations go to the PT team who’s commitment (like that of those working in so many small organisations) has made such great things happen over the years.

  16. We’ve long considered Picture This a trailblazer in the commissioning of artists’ film and video. We’ve looked to them for advice, technical skills and critical rigour ever since our first collaboration in 2005 on Joao Penalva’s White Nightingale. But more recently, Picture This has expanded to become an organisation which is engaging critical thinking and participants in new and surprising ways. There is no doubt that Bristol is recognised as a world leader in the field of digital innovation and media, but without organisations like Picture This with an intuitive sense of how to support artists to make ground-breaking work, to offer chances for real career breakthroughs, our future will look a lot less interesting.

  17. Rachel Baker says:

    Very strange, perplexing decision by ACE to cut Picture This. Would love to know the logic behind it as to many it doesn’t make much sense at all. Bristol and many UK-based artists will be artistically poorer if PT are unable to continue to work and provide support at the same level.

  18. I have always thought of Picture This being at the forefront of activity when it came to commissioning, producing and exhibiting new cutting edge work in film and video. I’ve visited many times, seen many shows there all of which were of the highest standard. Picture This have been incredibly important over the years, bringing to light new work and new talent.

  19. I am writing in a personal and professional capacity to say that Picture This, the organistation and its staff team, are valued friends, neighbours and peers. The technical, critical and developmental support which Picture This offers artists and organisations across the region, the country and through international collaborations is exemplary – and – most importantly – unique. Their impact on audiences through the commissioning and distribution of new art works is also equally significant. With all that they contribute to the south west and the wider UK art scene in mind, I very much hope that their future can be secured.

  20. ‘Act Natural’, the series of videos we made for Picture This, was a significant step in the development of our work in video. The organisations’ co-commissioning of the work brought additional support from Southwest screen and AMIE Bath and together they provided a package which gave us the valuable time, finances and technical support to allow us to focus on creating a series of works that we presented not only for the commission but in institutions and galleries around the UK. The technical help we received developed the way we approach various technical aspects of production. Picture This are who we contact when we have specialist technical AV issues and we are lucky that the organisation is willing to offer us their advice and expertise, even two years after the commission. As part of a research project LUX artist moving image agency asked if there was any way we could think of to improve support for UK artists working in video and we suggested that more artists should have access to the kind of support we have benefited from though our relationship with Picture This.

  21. William Fowler, BFI National Archive says:

    Picture This are a very dynamic and ambitious organisation with an impressive history of exciting projects, publications and collaborations behind them and I was shocked to discover that ACE had chosen not to fund them in the period following 2011/12. They provide unique, strategic support to film and video artists working both locally and nationally and have had a very impressive impact on the development of the sector. I fear that it will be both the people of Bristol and the artist community that will suffer the result of this decision.

  22. Emily Pethick, Director - The Showroom says:

    The Showroom is collaborating with Picture This on a new film production, and like many other artists and arts organisations currently, and before, benefitting from access to their knowledge and experience in producing film and video work, as well as their specialist facilities.

    Picture This has a long track record of producing and co-producing high quality and innovative artists productions, and many of the works they have produced have been shown widely in the UK and abroad. To have specialised organisations such as this is an incredibly important resource for the visual arts, particluarly at a moment when UK is producing some very strong young film and video makers who are making ambitious work that is difficult to produce alone. The cutting of their funding is a not only big loss for Bristol, but will be felt amongst artists and arts organsiations accross the UK.

  23. Ben Rivers says:

    Picture This commissioned ‘Slow Action’, which is my most ambitious work to date, in terms of scale of production. Filmed in four different countries, it took a great deal of organisation, which Picture This helped with at every stage, finding funding, organising travel and different aspects of production, and then post-production. For the first time i was able to transfer 16mm film to HD and subsequently edit and exhibit in this format at Picture This – as i was new to this way of working, their technical expertise was invaluable at guiding me through this process. Put simply, this work would not have been possible without Picture This, and long may they continue their work.

  24. Hito Steyerl says:

    The standard of the equipment available at Picture This along with the expertise held by the technical team tansformed the installation of In Free Fall to a point that it has set the precedent for how I wish it to be shown in the future. I know of few organisations which combine this crucial mix of skill and kit and are able to undertake projects like this in-house – as well as initiating and overseeing the commissioning process.

    I thoroughtly enjoyed the experience of working with Picture This and the opportunity it gave me to make a new work and have it profiled in three contemporary UK spaces – Collective, Edinburgh, Picture This, Bristol and Chisenhale, London. The work has received a great response from the press and was subsequently selected for the 7th Taipei Biennial 2010.

  25. John Wood & Paul Harrison says:

    We have worked with Picture This for the last 11 years. They supported and organised our first solo exhibition in London and have commissioned work from us. We have also exhibited in their gallery space in Bristol.

    They have been an invaluable resource and supported us not only through production and exhibiting of work but also through advice and technical expertise.

    We cannot stress enough how important we believe this organisation is for the production, exhibition and distribution of artists moving image work.

  26. Caroline Ferreira, Cultural Attaché, French Embassy says:

    I think Picture This has incredible potential, supported by an excellent high-profile programme which runs all through the year. The collaboration that the French Embassay had with Picture this for Michel Auder was utterly fantastic.


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