If this age fails me: screening and discussion event with MayDay Rooms

18th of may 6pm bst, zoom

Screening of work by Peter Gidal, Kadeem Oak and Wilf Thust with a discussion based on the research of Jack Booth, Freya Field-Donovan, Lotte L.S. and Johanna Klingler soon to be published in Camera Forward! by MayDay Rooms.


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In the 1970s the proliferation of photographic and cinematic practices on the Left put the means of image production and distribution into the hands of ordinary people. London in particular became a live and contested site for work which dealt with the conditions of contemporary civic life. Fifty years on, what should be drawn from the socially enmeshed practices of filmmakers and photographers who worked in London towards the end of the twentieth century?

Please join for a screening and discussion that uses the research and writing from forthcoming MayDay Rooms pamphlet Camera Forward! as the basis for a conversation between documents and people.

This event presents the first opportunity to view the digital transfer of Wilf Thust’s film Is That It? (Part 4), a video compiling work from young people at the Four Corners’ Cinema workshop. Thust’s film will be shown alongside more recent work by Peter Gidal and Kadeem Oak.


  • Kadeem Oak, Lift, 2014, 3.54 min, Colour and black and white, sound, ​original format: 16mmm film, SD video transfer
  • Wilf Thust, Is That It? (Part 4), 1985, 11.18 mins, colour, original format: 16mm film, digital transfer
  • Wilf Thust, Where is the Gaiety?, 1973, 8.36 mins, black and white, sound, original format animated still photography, digital transfer
  • Peter Gidal, Assumption, 1997, 1.25 mins, Colour, original format: 16mm film, digital transfer

Following the screening, invited speakers Jack Booth, Freya Field-Donovan, Johanna Klingler and Lotte L.S. discuss their respective research projects into the relationship between the New Left, squatting and the media, the films of Wilf Thust, the photography of Terry Dennett, and the film collective Cinema Action.

Commissioned by MayDay Rooms to contribute to Camera Forward!, the speakers’ research offers four separate viewpoints into the MayDay Rooms archive, a public resource which contains masses of material relating to histories of radical resistance. The event aims to bring out connections and comparison between multiple sites of grassroots, radical and counter cultural archives in London. Including the Women’s Art Library and Jo Spence Memorial Library Archive, who are participating in this event via the Animating Archives project. Follow the links below for information on both MayDay Rooms and Animating Archives projects.

MayDay Rooms

Event organised by Jacob Bard-Rosenberg, Freya Field Donovan and Alexandra Symons Sutcliffe and is a collaboration between MayDay Rooms and Animating Archives. With the support of Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image, Urban Intersections Experimental Collective (Birkbeck,) and the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Art (UCL).

Camera Forward! will be published by MayDay in May/June please keep an eye on MayDay’s website and social media for more information.


Contributors Bios:

Jack Booth is a London-based writer. Current research interests are in 1970s Britain, particularly how the idea of communitarianism played out in cultural movements and self identified collectives. He completed his undergraduate degree at Goldsmiths and his master’s was in Film Studies at University College London.

Freya Field-Donovan is a PhD candidate in the History of Art department at University College London. Her PhD is titled A Strange American Funeral and focuses on dance and technological reproduction in 1940s America.

Peter Gidal is renowned as a writer and theorist, in particular for his highly influential publication ‘Structural Film Anthology’ (BFI 1976). He was an active member of the London Filmmakers’ Co-operative and Co-founder of the Independent Film-makers’ Association. His films have been screened nationally and internationally including at Tate; Hayward Gallery; Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Film Theatre and at the Edinburgh Film Festival.

Johanna Klingler is an artist and researcher based between Berlin, Munich and London. She currently works on a PhD introducing the term “Emotional-Infrastructural Labour”. She is also a co-organizer of “Portal”, a platform that focuses on a cultural exchange between the German speaking world and the post-soviet area.

Lotte L.S. is a poet living in Great Yarmouth, at the far east of England. She has a pamphlet forthcoming with MayDay Rooms that works with their archives on 60s/70s cinema collectives across Europe to explore the dis/junctions between aesthetics, cinema, and revolutionary politics. She organises « no relevance » a series of multilingual readings with local and visiting poets, and accompanying pamphlets, in Great Yarmouth. She keeps an infrequent tinyletter, Shedonism.

Kadeem Oak is a London-based artist, filmmaker and programmer from Sheffield, South Yorkshire; his work is concerned with the vernacular and reconfiguration of artists’ moving image, storytelling and experimental documentation. Examining ideas surrounding black British identity, articulation of a sense of place, ecology and nature.

Wilf Thust is an artist whose work is a process of research into shapes, colours, movement and audience interaction. Born in Silesia, now Poland, and displaced to Germany by the Second World War, Thust has lived and worked in the UK since 1972. In 1974 he co-founded Four Corners, in 1975 he set up the Film Workshop in Bethnal Green and in 1980 he set up a film workshop with young people in Tower Hamlets, partly financed by Channel 4 in support of Independent filmmaking. Thust has taught and exhibited throughout his career and is currently an independent painter, maker and illustrator.




The title for the event is taken from the writings of the political theorist and pamphleteer James Harrington (1611-77). Harrington, who rose to prominence during the English Civil War, was one of the few commentators to analyse the causes of the conflict from a socio-economic perspective. His political writings pre-figure the methods of historical materialism by tracing the causes of the war to the transfer of land from crown, aristocracy and church to the gentry and the yeomanry in the century and a half before 1640. Bitterly disappointed by the course of the Civil War and arrested and imprisoned without trial in 1661 for plotting against the government, Harrington wrote the words above in an appeal to posterity for the dreams of the revolution. See Christopher Hill The Experience of Defeat: Milton and Some Contemporaries (1984) for further reading.

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