NEWS: Graham Dolphin: 161 Feet (Lesser Free Trade Hall) @ Tyneside Cinema Gallery | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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The Sex Pistols gig at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall is one of those gigs that everyone says they attended. So many are keen to jump on the ‘I saw them first’ bandwagon in fact, that the 150 capacity venue would’ve been full several times over if the tales were really all true.

The roster of audience members who were actually there includes the likes of Mark E Smith, Tony Wilson, Morrissey, Peter Hook and Ian Curtis, to name but a handful. With this in mind, it’d be a bit of an understatement to say that the Sex Pistols’ gig was influential in inspiring some of the greatest musicians in the world.

Of course, there’s one way for mere mortals to prove that they actually were there, and that’s to film it. Which is exactly what Newcastle-based artist Graham Dolphin’s new installation at Tyneside Cinema’s Gallery displays; a rare Super 8 film shot by an audience member.

Dolphin has digitally scanned the entire length of the film (161 feet) as a series of 112 images, and compiled them into a single image which is animated across the cinema screen. The resulting effect is a dizzying variety of sequential images, along with the lumps and bumps that the effects of time have taken on the material; the scratches, dust and marks alongside the edit splices, sprockets and manufacturers watermarks adds to the sense of how a piece of film can come to define history.

To coincide with the exhibition, which has been commissioned in partnership with Sunderland’s NGCA and is on display from Thursday 28th July until Wednesday 7th September, a season of live music and punk-inspired films has been programmed by the artist. The Freedom of ’76 Punk Weekender takes place between Saturday 27th and Monday 29th August, and will include a performance from collective Blood Sport, with lots more in the pipeline. Graham explains further: “Rather than trawl through the well versed arguments and cultural ‘highlights’ of punk, this short series of events and screenings aims to look at how the freedom allowed by punk’s first wave in 1976 infiltrated the thinking of cinema and where that freedom might be found in today’s music.”

Graham Dolphin: 161 Feet (Lesser Free Trade Hall) is at Tyneside Cinema Gallery, Newcastle from Thursday 28th July until Wednesday 7th September.

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