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Condition of Illusion

A problematisation of the relation between spectator and photographic image.

Animation & Artists Moving Image 1975 32 mins Silent


Condition of Illusion records in silence the effect of camera movement on an otherwise static environment, appearing to see beyond immediate material reality to a shifting, molecular-level patterning. The jerkily hand held moving camera comes momentarily to rest on individual features; a ceramic mug; a poster image of a young male face in profile; a record player; a metallic animal statuette, before motion blur transforms apparently solid objects into a rapidly shifting patterning of film grained lines and circles. This is film concerned with the relation between the spectator and the photographic image, challenging the identifying relation which is the basis for classic cinema.

Founded in 1966, the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative started life at Better Books, a counter-culture bookshop on Charing Cross Road, where a group led by poet Bob Cobbing and filmmakers Stephen Dwoskin and Jeff Keen met to screen films. Initially inspired by the activities of the New American Cinema Group in New York, the London Co-op grew into a pioneering organisation that incorporated a film workshop, cinema space and distribution office. During its four-decade history, the Co-op played a crucial role in establishing film as an art form in the UK and participated in a vibrant international film scene. This BFI Player collection brings together new scans of films distributed by and/or produced at the London Co-op.