Thursday, 26 April 2007

From the fringes of memory

The artist Chris Dorley-Brown talked freely about the work he did for the BBC in the late 1960s and early 1970s. His work plays, he says, "at the edges of memory" and he showed footage from a documentary he made back then from the east end of London, replete with bomb damage from the Second World War. Indeed, the London docklands featured in the Man Alive documentary, which was broadcast in 1971 and rescued from the BBC archive only recently, are shown in the film as a decaying, post-industrial landscape far removed from the wealth so easily witnessed in the same area today. It was a fascinating view that triggered much from the fringes of my memory and i would have liked to have seen much more.

Dorley-Browne described his work as a kind of "creative estrangement". He also talked about the creative process itself and how that relates to collaboration. He said he collaborates all the time: with the BBC; with his subjects; with his family as he negotiates time to go shooting. But he says that "true collaboration is rare" and that - ultimately - the artistic journey is one of solitude.

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