Tuesday 24 September 2019
Berlin-based filmmaker Ute Aurand presents a programme of work on the occasion of Scottish film pioneer Margaret Tait’s centenary year. This screening follows a symposium on women photographers running 2–5pm also at the Goethe-Institut, Glasgow.
Aurand and Tait were in close dialogue in the last decade of Tait’s life, sharing an interest in the personal and poetic potential of 16mm filmmaking. In the 1990s Aurand visited the London Film-Makers Co-op where she connected with Tait’s work, bringing film prints back to Berlin to distribute across Europe. In the summer of 1995, Aurand visited Tait in her native Orkney.
“So there I was in Margaret’s kirk, her studio, in an old Orcadian church. But the most beautiful hours we shared together were watching all the films I hadn’t seen – in her dark-green painted small living room with a golden framed screen, the size of a painting… the most beautiful cinema! A moving painting!”
Whilst in Orkney, the two began working together on a project responding to a rough idea for script of Tait’s entitled, Video Poems for the 90s. They took their Bolexes “and went to the edge of the sea, looked for rust, and birds and filmed, turning a page.” The collaborative film was never completed and is rarely screened, it was notably shown for the tenth anniversary of Tait’s death at Tate Modern (2009).
Aurand will present her new feature-length film, Rasendes Grün mit Pferden / Rushing Green with Horses, alongside Video Poems for the 90s, and Three Portrait Sketches (1951), an early work by Tait made whilst studying at Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome, and the debut of a new film by Aurand, commissioned specially for the Margaret Tait 100.
“RUSHING GREEN WITH HORSES is a collection of brief observations and encounters, filmed between 1999 and 2018 at home and while travelling, with friends and alone. Private gestures awaken my attention: Anton in his apartment in Lichtenberg, Lilian and Nanouk 10 days old, Jón’s 94th birthday, Sofia dancing, a trip to Detroit, Alma and Ernie at the Brandenburger Gate. We see the same people at various ages, as a child, a teenager, a young woman…The magic of moving images and sounds echoes from the past into the present. In the middle of the film appears a handwritten sentence first mirrored then turned around: A child asleep in its own life.” — Ute Aurand
About the artists
Ute Aurand (b. 1957, Frankfurt, Germany) is a filmmaker, programmer and educator working primarily in the form of 16mm film portraits. She studied filmmaking at the Deutsche Film und Fernsehakademie from 1979 to 1985 and has been a central figure in Berlin’s experimental film scene since the 1980s. Aurand has been an active film programmer for more than three decades; from 1990 to 1995, she curated Filmarbeiterinnen-Abend for Arsenal, Berlin, and in 1997 co-founded FilmSamstag, a monthly screen series at Kino Babylon, Berlin, with a particular focus on championing the work of female artists and filmmakers.
Margaret Tait (1918–1999, Orkney, UK) was born in Kirkwall on Orkney. She qualified in medicine at Edinburgh University in 1941 and from 1950 to 1952 studied film at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome. Returning to Scotland she established Ancona Films in Edinburgh’s Rose Street. In the 1960s Tait moved back to Orkney where over the following decades she made a series of films inspired by the Orcadian landscape and culture. All but three of her thirty-two films were self-financed. She wrote poetry and stories and produced several books including three books of poetry. Screenings include National Film Theatre (London), Berlin Film Festival, Centre for Contemporary Art (Warsaw), Arsenal Kino (Berlin), Pacific Film Archives (San Francisco), Knokke le Zoute, Delhi and Riga. Tait was accorded a retrospective at the 1970 Edinburgh Film Festival and has been the subject of profiles on BBC and Channel Four. The feature length Blue Black Permanent (1992) opened the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Her final film Garden Pieces was completed in 1998.