Paul Burwell Lockdown update

From London in the late 1960s until his death in Hull in 2007, Paul Burwell played a significant role in the development of performance art, improvised music and sound art in the UK. Always pushing to the edges and extremes, often involving danger, ritual and magickal transformation much of Burwell's work was transient and 'of the moment' - he was often more interested in the act of making the work than whether anyone saw it.

Since receiving funding from Future's Venture in 2018, we've been travelling the country speaking to many of the artists and musicians who were inspired by Burwell's life and work, as well as his family and friends.

With nearly 30 interviews filmed - each lasting around an hour - the task of transcribing, logging and indexing those interviews has been a big one. It's the preparation before the creative bit begins: every interview has to be cut and the cuts indexed thematically according to timecode before the job of creating sequences in a timeline can begin. Immersive work and great for lockdown - a big, fascinating, storytelling job.

Those 30 or so hours of footage need to become an hour. There'll be no narration, the interviewees will tell the story, so everyone is intercut together, one person leading to the next; hopefully - if I get it right - with grace, pace, rhythm and coherence.

So, with all the housekeeping done, I'm now working on sequences that cover a theme or a period in Paul's life. These will form part of a long-cut which will then go to my colleague Al for fine tuning. And then we add the B-roll and visuals... Bringing together fragments and seeing if they create a life: the sort of alchemy that we hope a magician artist like Paul Burwell would have enjoyed.

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