In 2002 The Light Surgeons played two sell-out shows of their documentary performance All Points Between at the Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. The events generated such interest, and the Tyneside Cinema invited The Light Surgeons to do a residency project in Newcastle.
TLS sought to apply their self-sampling aesthetic to a different kind of filmmaking and took inspiration from the Surrealist parlour game of exquisite corpse. Their idea was to create a portrait of a city through a creative collaboration with its local inhabitants – artists, musicians, writers, photographers and animators observing and commenting on their own city. The film’s structure would then evolve through a process of mass observation – each participating artist creating elements of the final collage that would represented a chimera of the city. The finished films were also remixed and performed live alongside the original musical scores composed for each film.
The Chimera Project_Middlesbrough (Duration 28 minutes)
This film was produced in 2003 as the flagship commission for the first North East AV Festival that brought together the three regional cities of Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Sunderland. The project was directed from a production space in the city over that autumn by TLS member James Price as artist in residence and was then edited by The Light Surgeons at their London base.
The film charts a day in the life of this troubled but proud North East town. The industry that gave birth to the urban area is still very present in the town, but large scale unemployment and misguided governance have given the area terrible problems with dereliction, drugs, and prostitution, and a bad image problem in the country at large. The film looks at the people who choose to live there and how a sense of community, love, home, and hope keep them there.
Project Director:James Price
Artists:Jamie Macdonald, Nicky Peacock, Clive Tonge, Lindsay Roe, Liz McCormack, Sam Harrison, Rayees Rashid, Robert Page, Russell Smith, Marni Henderson, Katherine O’Connor, Imogen Busby, Marty Collantine
Edit:Chris Allen, James Price, Ben Tseng and Jude Greenaway