This film is part of Free


The literal and metaphorical shadow of Canary Wharf spills over all that surrounds it.

Animation & Artists Moving Image 1993 1 mins


Seen from multiple vantage points, Canary Wharf here dominates the post-industrial landscape of London’s beleaguered East End. Artist William Raban cuts quickly between different shots and a snappy, musical rhythm is introduced to this unusual, multi-layered portrait of the shining commercial business centre and towering architectural structure.

Artist filmmaker William Raban began by making expanded cinema pieces and landscape-based works, frequently focusing on the formal properties of 16mm film. Since the mid-80s he has explored the economic and social topography of the capital city, often gleaning images and pre-existing texts according to a specific conceptual constraint. Thames Film, originally broadcast on television in the slot The Lie of the Land in 1987, centres on the physical and historical experience of the river as seen from the vantage point of a low level boat. It also includes archival prints and found footage, further unpacking the different histories that emanate from the river while also highlighting the changes that had been introduced to the city docks by Margaret Thatcher’s government. Sundial, Thames Film and other works from the late 1980s and into the 1990s paint a collective, changing portrait of the UK’s capital and commercial centre.