neil cummings

If Community Was...

19 Jan 2016

The second in Open Cinema's workshops was developed and lead by Ed Webb-Ingall.
Ed's research looks to recover, reactivate and revive the history and practice of community video.

Ed gave a brief  account, from 1968 to 1981 of the development of a medium and moving image style that continued the tradition of direct cinema (cinema verité) although with radically different in form and content—that of community video making.

Supported by public funding, the community video movement enabled groups and individuals to use a media that was often used to misrepresent them - through broadcast television, to  engage in new forms of collective self-representation. 

Video’s DIY possibilities was often a technology to encourage community organization.

After the introduction, Ed produced a simple camcorder, explained how it worked, how to record, zoom, pan, pause, etc.

We passed the camcorder around, and while practicing recording and zooming, asked our neighbour " If community were a colour, what colour would it be?" or "If community were a fabric, what kind of fabric would it be?" their response, recorded, would have to start "If community were a colour........" It was playful, yet revealing.....

See some images from the workshop.

Many months later, we decided to continue to develop If Community Was.., it slowly evolved into an ongoing, collaboratively produced, endless, collective portrait of what communities might be.

It's at times funny, others tender, glib, thoughtful, cruel, rambling, insightful and revealing, it seems to inhabit community rather than merely represent it.......... we screened the film at Home with great success, and its still ongoing.



Read about the introductory session to Open Cinema, see the extrordinary final Screening festival programme, or visit Open School East to see the films.


51.539234, -0.08122

Open School East
43 De Beauvoir Road
N1 5SQ
United Kingdom

Submitted by neil on 14 January, 2016 - 19:38