Our programme

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MEZZ, curated by Louisa Fairclough and Simon Ryder, ran from 2009–2012.
This website is now an archive of that time.

Ben Rivers & LUX
For Mezz #18 we are delighted to screen Ben Rivers’ acclaimed new feature-length film Two Years at Sea at Apollo Cinema, Stroud on Mon 28 May. The subject of Ben Rivers’ films are those who choose a way of life that quietly, but resolutely, refuses to submit to the demands of conventional living. More film poem than documentary, Two Years at Sea is a stark and beautiful portrait of Jake Williams, a man who lives alone in a remote Scottish forest; an existence that recalls Thoreau’s words “… him who lives in the midst of nature and has his senses still.” On Tue 29 May we welcome Ben Rivers in conversation with Benjamin Cook, Director of LUX, accompanied by a screening of Rivers’ short 16mm films Origin of The Species, Ah Liberty! and Sack Barrow. Jonathan Romney (Sight & Sound, May 2012) describes Rivers’ films as “mesmerising” and taking us “to a place entirely his own”. Rivers uses a hand-wound camera and for many of his films, including Two Years as Sea, he hand processes the films in his kitchen sink, the splash and mark of this process remaining as traces on the image. (LF)

Two Years at Sea : 8.30pm / Mon 28 May 2012 / Apollo Cinema Stroud / £8  (Sold Out)

Ben Rivers in conversation with Benjamin Cook (LUX)7.30pm (prompt) / Tue 29 May 2012 / SVA / £4.50  from Trading Post (01453 759116)

Artists one-to-one sessions with Benjamin Cook (LUX) : 1 – 5pm on Tue 29 May (applications are now closed)

These events feature in the Site Festival 1st-31st May.  With many thanks to LUX, PhotoStroud, SVA and Meantime Project Space.

Her Noise
For Mezz #17, Electra’s Fatima Hellberg and Irene Revell will talk about Her Noise, an on-going project focused on exploring and developing emergent feminist discourses in sound and music. Over the years,  Her Noise has grown into an archive, encompassing material by and interviews with female artists who use sound as a medium alongside pioneering musicians and composers. The intention of Her Noise is to challenge standard readings and approaches to feminisms and the sonic, and for Mezz these ideas will be explored through a listening exercise and a talk. Here the vocal innovations of Meredith Monk and Pauline Oliveros’ theories on ‘Deep Listening’ are a particular point of focus, especially in the form of sonic meditations, exercises which Oliveros likened to the experience of  walking at night so silently “that the bottoms of your feet become ears”. This event precedes the upcoming Her Noise: Feminisms and the Sonic symposium at Tate Modern, 3-5 May. Electra is a London based contemporary art agency which specialises in curating, commissioning and producing ambitious cross-disciplinary projects by artists working across sound, moving image, performance and the visual arts. (LF)

7.30pm / Thu 29  Mar 2012 / SVA/ £4.50  

Image: Meredith Monk, ’16mm Earrings’, 1966/77, performance and film. Courtesy The House Foundation

John Newling
When I first encountered Chatham Vines, the webcam view revealing grapes being growing hydroponically down the aisle of a deserted church lit by the yellow glow of artificial lights, I was struck by its eerie beauty, then by how John Newling’s work seems to encapsulate both the complexity and fragility of our relationship to nature. More recently, The Lemon Tree and Me, part of the 4-year Noah Laboratory project, included a moving account of his relationship to a particular tree whilst also working conceptually with the roots of the word ‘culture’ – cultivating soil from the text ‘Rights of Man’ by Thomas Payne. For Mezz#16, John will be exhibiting cannonballs of his ‘text-soil’, some of which he hopes will be planted in Stroud, and then talking about the Noah Laboratory and how it navigated a path between ethics, ecology and aesthetics in an attempt to influence “our shared responsibilites as gardeners of the public domain”. (SR)

7.30pm / Thu 26  Jan 2012 / SVA/ £4.50  

Jem Finer
At the time of writing this, Jem Finer’s Longplayer has been running for 11 years, 306 days, 3 hours, 36 minutes and 2 seconds. Designed to continue for a 1,000 years, Longplayer brings together Finer’s interest in technological systems and time, pushing the limits of what might be possible when setting yourself the task of composing a piece of music that will never repeat itself over such a long time frame. But all these numbers overlook the simple beauty of the composition itself. Trained in computer science, a founder member of the Pogues, and more recently winner of the prestigious PRS Foundation New Music Award for his Score for a Hole in the Ground, Finer’s ambitious artworks oscillate between the lure of technology and the physicality of the natural world: the sounds produced by Score… (pictured above) depending solely upon the play of water on metal underground which is then amplified by a large horn extending up into the surrounding King’s Wood in Kent. His most recent piece, Spiegelei which was recently sited at Compton Verney, continues his interest in technology, revisiting and updating the camera obscura. For Mezz#15 Jem will be talking about these and other projects, the order and direction of the evening being determined by the audience. This promises to be a wide ranging and fascinating encounter. (SR)

7.30pm / Wed  7  Dec 2011 / SVA/ £4.50  (note: it is Wednesday this time, not our usual Thursday)


Jayne Parker / Evan Parker
Mezz #14 brings together film-maker Jayne Parker and free improvising saxophonist Evan Parker for the first time. Introducing her films Cold Jazz (featuring saxophonist Kathy Stobart) and Catalogue of Birds: Book 3 (featuring pianist Katharina Wolpe), 59 1/2 seconds and Arc (featuring cellist Anton Lukoszevieze), Jayne Parker will talk about how music helps her to think about film structurally, posing the  questions: how can I reflect the form and rigour of the music? How can film embody music? Does what I see change what I hear? This will be followed by a solo performance by Evan Parker, a legendary pioneer in the field of improvised music. With a lexicon of techniques he has devised over forty years from circular breathing to cross fingering, the sounds that resonate from the body of the saxophone seem to have shape, his intense performances oscillating from the harsh and raw to a swirling, fluttering web of contrapuntal tones. “In Evan Parker’s music” writes Stuart Broomer “thought and breath are continuous, each the instrument and measure of the other”. (LF)

7.30pm  / Sat 4 Jun 2011 / SVA / £10

Ilana Halperin
“One evening, someone approached me and said; I came across something I think you might be interested in – a collection of body stones. Body stones? Body stones: gall stones, kidney stones, they are made of geology. From this conversation grew the idea that we as humans are also geological agents – we form geology. We are like volcanoes, producing new landmass on a micro scale.” Recently returned from Iceland and on her way to the Turner Contemporary for a performative lecture, Mezz is pleased to present Ilana Halperin, who utilises text, delicate graphite drawings, sculpture, video and performance to explore our intimate relationship to the seemingly distant and abstract world of plate tectonics, in her quest to develop art objects formed within a geological, or deep time context. For Mezz #13 Ilana will first be showing some work from her Physical Geology series, followed by a talk entitled Autobiographical Trace Fossils: “a field dispatch on the nature of new landmass of a cultural, biological and geological nature – from petrifying caves in France, to geothermal pools in Iceland and a collection of body stones more animal than mineral.” (SR)

7.30pm / Thu 5 May 2011 / SVA/ £4

Guy Sherwin
“The action of light on photo-sensitive emulsion arrests a fleeting event. Chemical changes take place that turn light into dark and dark into light. The camera gathers the light, the projector throws the light out onto the screen” writes Guy Sherwin. For Mezz #12 we present one of the key artist film-makers who came out of the Structural film movement in the 1970s. Guy Sherwin will introduce a number of his 16mm film-performances in which the projectors are either stacked, tipped sideways or aligned in a row, and talk about how he sees his films as an investigation of the fundamental qualities of light and time in cinema. Included in this event will be Cycles #3 (1972/2003) in which the shuddering image of a circle and the thumping sound that roars from the two projectors is generated from holes cut into and dots stuck onto the film; Bicycle (1978) a short film about relative motion;  Railings (1977) in which the image is scanned by the projector’s optical playback head and transmitted as sound;  Camden Road Station (1973/2004) and his recent film Wires (2009) both of which use three projectors. Sherwin’s films have been featured in a number of seminal shows including Film as Film at Hayward Gallery (1979), Live in Your Head at Whitechapel Gallery (2000), Shoot Shoot Shoot at Tate Modern (2002) and most recently Moving Portraits at De La Warr Pavilion (2011). (LF)

7.30pm / Thu 28 Apr 2011 / SVA/ £4

3×3 (3 films / 3 curators / 9 texts)
Grace Davies, Suzanne Mooney and Uriel Orlow have each chosen an artist’s film and written a short text on all three films that we have compiled into a handmade booklet (edition of 50). We start the evening with The Future’s Getting Old Like The Rest Of Us by Beatrice Gibson from 2010: “…The film opens to conversations amongst a group of elderly care home residents, each telling a different story. Some are confident, verbose and theatrical, others drift in and out of the scene, as if reflecting their own hazy stream of consciousness…” Followed by a rare chance to see a 16mm film screening of Hollis Frampton’s (nostalgia) from 1971: “…One by one, the photographs are put into view and placed onto a circular hotplate …But, as the surface beneath the image heats up, their stillness is interrupted and is literally given movement. The images disintegrate before our very eyes as they smoke,stain, warp and finally burn into a pile of ash…” We close with Chris Marker’s La Jetee from 1962: “…I remember that this seemed like the most still image of the entire film. I remember that the woman’s image was the unnamed man’s madeleine, the force that allowed him to travel to the past, which looked like the present of the film itself. I remember that they became lovers of sorts but that he never found out her name either…” (LF)

7.30pm / Thu 17 Mar 2011 / SVA/ £4

Images courtesy of the LUX. With thanks to Cheltenham Foundation Course (for screen-printing publication)

Phillip Warnell
The inside of our bodies is the chosen territory of Phillip Warnell, whose work explores not only the physical aspects of this container (through the use of ingested cameras) but also the body as a site of meaning, of thought and representation. For Mezz #10, Phillip is bringing a double bill of his films: the documentary The Girl with X-ray Eyes, that explores the world of Natasha Demkina who claims to be able to see inside bodies using a form of second sight; and Outlandish, recently premiered at The South London Gallery, in which the focus shifts between the deck of the Galion with its octopus pilot and the philosopher and heart transplant recipient Jean-Luc Nancy who meditates on the history and integrity of bodies: their secrets, their touching, their strangeness. Following this 45-min double bill, there will then be a chance to hear Phillip talk about his work. (SR)

7.30–10pm / Thu 27 Jan 2011 / SVA / £4

Cliff Gorman on Coyote
Over the past few years Cliff Gorman has built Worth Attention into a UK-based resource on the life and works of Beuys, Goethe and Steiner. For Mezz#09 he offers the chance to experience, re-live and re-view Beuys’ provocative Action Coyote: I like America, America Likes Me. This will be followed by an Exploration:Demonstration around Coyote by Cliff on the theme of ‘associations’. Cliff: “through his actions Beuys strove to evoke an intuition within his audience, one that would jolt them out of indifference to an issue” – an approach that has renewed relevance today. (SR)7.30–10pm / Thu 14 Oct  2010 / SVA / £4

Place Memory II
Susan Collins,  Phil Coy, Tacita Dean, Colin Glen, Kathleen Herbert, Mikhail Karikis,  Michelle Ohlson, Uriel Orlow, Jayne Parker, Simon Ryder and Dominic Thomas. Mezz presents an afternoon of artists’ films, performance and drawings exploring ideas of memory and its association with place. This event brings together the work of international and London-based artists with artists working from the Stroud area,  home of Mezz. With a rare chance to see Tacita Dean’s film portrait of the poet and translator Michael Hamburger and Jayne Parker’s film ‘Stationary Music’, a performance by Mikhail Karikis and a screening of ‘Sounds from Beneath’, made in collaboration with Uriel Orlow and the Snowdown Colliery Choir who bring back to life a disused colliery as they recall and sing the subterranean sounds of a working coal mine.  Many of the artists’ films were made in response to the landscape or architecture of Gloucestershire: Phil Coy’s journey through local estate agents’ glossy images of Cotswolds villages; Kathleen Herbert’s film of an orchestrated event made whilst artist-in-residence at Gloucester Cathedral and Simon Ryder’s ‘Market Report’ made as a response to the closure of the Gloucester Livestock Market. The British landscape elsewhere is depicted in Susan Collins’ slow record of the flat horizons of the Silicon Fens and Dominic Thomas’ performance to camera in the Lake District offers a meditation on time, memory and nostalgia through an act of psychological and physical retreat. Colin Glen’s drawings are concerned with the place of thought within the process of transferring an object into an image, whilst Michelle Ohlson’s ‘Stereoscope’ (pictured) intends to draw parallels between our literal perception of depth and the act of remembering. Event curated by Louisa Fairclough and supported by SVA and the Nunnery. (LF)

2–5pm / Sat 9 Oct 2010 /Visions in the Nunnery / Bows Art Trust, 183 Bow Road, London, E3 2SJ / Free

Mikhail Karikis
Coined by critics as a sound alchemist, Mikhail Karikis uses his voice as sculptural material. Pulling sounds from his gut, from growl to yelp to a pure high tone, he explores the voice and its relationship to his body. His performances are also visually lush and eccentric. Having recently performed at Tate Britain and coming to Mezz prior to the Whitstable Biennale, Mikhail’s work spans the visual art and music worlds: recent collaborators have included pop-musicians (Björk, DJ Spooky), classical choirs (Hilliard Ensemble, Cantamus) and visual artists (Sonia Boyce and Uriel Orlow). Mikhail is currently working on an experimental opera (www.mikhailkarikis.blogspot.com) that incorporates the sounds of pulsars (dying stars that emit radio waves). The opera begins with the poetic gesture of singing a duet with the stars – an allusion to a yearning and search for existence beyond earth. For Mezz #07 Mikhail will perform elements of the opera throughout SVA artists studios, before talking about his work. (LF)

7.30–10pm / Thu 10 June 2010 / SVA / £4

Edwina Ashton
In her videos and animations, Edwina Ashton brings a number of dreamlike creatures to life. Through a mixture of slapstick and pathos, she explores the allure of eccentricity and idiosyncrasy, often through the use of insects and bugs given human attributes to ridicule British politeness. As part of Foreground’sIndependent State project, Edwina created a float for 2009 Frome Carnival for which she made costumes for a small army of poorly behaved insects who briefly became an alternative society resident in that small Somerset town. ForMezz #06, Edwina will be showing a selection of drawings and videos, including her latest animation Mr Panz at Lake Leman (notes on mammals and habitats), before a talk and discussion on her intriguing work. (LF)

7pm / Thu 22 April 2010 / SVA / £4

Neville Gabie
In the past few years Neville Gabie has used kite flying to explore various landscapes, in particular two large deserts, that of the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica and the sand desert of the Australian Outback. Recently returned from his time as artist-in-residence with the British Antarctic Survey, Neville will be presenting a multi-screen installation from Antarctica for the first part of Mezz #05 (7.00–8.30pm). This will then be followed by a talk (8.30pm) about his current work and how these environmental expeditions fit into his wider practice. For more information about Neville’s work see www.nevillegabie.com, or www.oneminuteweek.tumblr.com for his Antarctic blog. There will be a number of Neville’s publications available for sale at the end of the evening. (SR)

7.00 –10pm / Thu 4th Feb 2010 / Stroud Valleys Artspace / £4

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Nick Laessing
Nick Laessing’s work hovers between fact and fiction, tuning into the world around in such a way that leaves you caught between what you would like to be true and what is actually true. His latest project focusses on the Soviet scientist Victor Stephanovich Grebennikov and his ‘discovery’ of the gravity-defying properties of certain insect wing cases, with which he made a wingless flying machine. Based in Berlin, Nick travelled to Siberia to interview people who knew Grebennikov, and for the first part of the evening he will be installing a video projection of these interviews alongside a 16mm film of Grebennikov at work. Following this, he will be talking about his practice, including work exploring the world of free energy machines (almost mythical contraptions that generate more energy than they consume) and his recent performances at the Serpentine with the singer Esmeralda Conde Ruiz using an eidophone, a 19th-century invention that turns sound vibrations into beautiful organic patterns. (SR)

8pm / Thu 3rd Dec 2009 / Stroud Valleys Artspace / £4

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This event has been postponed for now, but will be presented sometime in the future.

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David Cotterrell
For the first part of this unique event, Mezz will be given over to an installation of two video works – Serial Loop and Green Room – made whilst David Cotterrell was embedded with the army in Afghanistan. Following a short break, David will then talk about his work and what it means to be a ‘war artist’. For more information about his work please follow the link on the right. Mezz #02 is in collaboration with the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust, who have commissioned David to make a new work for the Sculpture Trail. He will be talking about his approach to this commission at Beechenhurst Lodge in the Forest at 2pm on Sat 7th Nov and admission is free. (SR)

7.30–9.30pm / Thu 29th Oct 2009 / Stroud Valleys Artspace / £4

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Figuring Landscapes
Figuring Landscapes is a remarkable collection of moving-image works by 58 Australian and UK artists. The screenings focus on landscape to address questions of ecological survival, post-industrialism, gender, the touristic gaze, and uniquely in Australia, the status of indigenous people in a post-colonial society. Recently shown at Tate Modern, the first screening in the series will be introduced by Figuring Landscapes curator Steven Ball (British Artists’ Film and Video Study Collection). (LF + SR) Tuesdays throughout June 2009, 7.30pm Stroud Valleys Artspace, 4 John Street, Stroud GL5 2HA Image: Shaun Gladwell, Approach to Mundi Mundi, 2007 courtesy of the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery, Australia ______________________________________________

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01 Encounter (65 mins) Tue 2nd June 7.30pm A selection of films in which landscape is experienced as a spatial encounter with specific places, journeying across distance and memory, custom and industry, on land, on water and through the air. Amongst the artists featured is Andrew Kötting who, with his folklorist’s ear for the humour of the vernacular, takes a boat upstream in Jaunt; while in Petrolia Emily Richardson uses time lapse techniques to look at the oil industry on the Scottish coast. William Raban, Civil Disobedience, UK, 2004, 3 min Warwick Thornton & Darren Dale, Country Song, Australia, 2007, 2 min Tony Hill, Downside Up, UK, 1985, 7:24 min extract Lyndal Jones, Noel, Australia, 2008, 2 min extract Emily Richardson, Petrolia, UK, 2004, 7 min extract Andrew Kötting, Jaunt, UK, 1995, 6 min Jeff Doring, Mandu, Australia, 1983-2008, 10 min extract, Alan Giddy, You, Australia, 2005, 4 min extract Dryden Goodwin, Flight, UK, 2005, 5 min Catherine Elwes, Pam’s War, UK, 2008, 5 min Dalziel + Scullion, Another Place, UK, 2000, 4 min extract Simon Hollington & Kypros Kyprianou, CCTV Monitor 1, UK, 2003, 3:30 min Matthew Murdoch, Being There, UK, 2006, 2 min ______________________________________________

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02 Engagement (60 mins) Tue 9th June 7.30pm The political and cultural engagement with place and being on the land are unpacked and imaginatively reinvigorated in this screening. The programme includes Ann Donnelly’s Political Landscape, a video interpreting Northern Ireland’s conflicted landscape from the perspective of personal family history, and Vernon Ah Kee’s Cant Cant (Wegrewhere) in which the iconic surfing beach of white mythology is reappropriated by Aborginal surfers. Vernon Ah Kee, Cant Chant (Wegrewhere), Australia, 2007, 10 min Ann Donnelly, Political Landscape, UK, 2007, 7 min extract Dominic Redfern, Heat, Australia, 2007, 5 min Eugenia Lim, Young American, Australia, 2005, 4 min David Perry, Interior with Views, Australia, 1975, 5 min Merilyn Fairskye, Connected, Australia, 2003,10 min Brendan Lee, Proving Ground, Australia, 2007, 4 min extract Genevieve Staines, Ruins in Reverse, Australia, 2005, 5 min Dan Shipsides, Coir’ a’ Ghrunnda 360, UK, 2007, 2 min Anna Cady, Farms of Innocence, UK, 2007, 2 min Hugh Watt, Blacklaw, UK, 2007, 5 min

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03 Surroundings (70 mins) Tue 16th June 7.30pm This programme explores the ambiance of place as it resonates from the broad scope of the horizon to the intimacy of the closely observed. In Shaun Gladwell’s Approach to Mundi Mundi, the sublime immensity of the Outback acts as the backdrop to a black-leather-clad biker. In contrast Mike Marshall’s Days Like These is about the space of an English garden. Nick Collins, Tidemills, UK, 2002, 10 min Sofia Dahlgren, Winter Light, UK, 2005, 4 min Shaun Gladwell, Approach to Mundi Mundi, Australia, 2007, 8: 37 min David Mackenzie, Where the Crow Flies Backwards, Australia, 2006, 6:50 min Jo Millett, Surroundings: Trees, UK, 2007, 3 min Steven Ball, The Ground, The Sky and the Island, UK, 2008, 7:45 min Sandra Landolt, Push, Australia, 2007, 4:30 extract John Conomos, Lake George (after Mark Rothko), Australia, 2008, 7 min extract Mike Marshall, Days Like These, UK, 2003, 5 min Scott Morrison, Ocean Echoes, Australia, 2007, 9 min

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04 Enactment (70 mins) Tue 23rd June 7.30pm Figures in the landscape: human presence writes and performs the landscape as much as the landscape inscribes and enacts human presence. In Margaret Tait’s Portrait of Ga, the fragmented impressions of her mother (an elderly Orcadian) form a “film poem”. Australian artist Patricia Piccinini makes immersive computer-generated environments which, in her film Sandman, creates a sense of terror as a girl drifts in a tempestous ocean. Margaret Tait, Portrait of Ga, UK, 1952, 4 min David Theobald, Greensleeves, UK, 2007, 5 min John Gillies, Divide, Australia, 2005, 10 min extract Tammy Honey, iBeach, Australia, 2007, 4 min Ben Rivers, The Coming Race, UK, 2006, 5 min Sarah Dobai, Nettlecombe, UK, 2007, 7 min Bronwyn Platten, Meeting Nude Woman Walking on Balls, Australia, 2006, 4 min extract Hobart Hughes, Removed, Australia, 2005, 6 min George Barber, River Sky, UK, 2002, 6 min Roz Cran, Stone, UK, 2008, 4 min Sergio Cruz, Animalz, UK, 2006, 4 min Patricia Piccinini, Sandman, Australia, 2002, 4:10 min Matt Hulse, Sine Die, UK, 1994, 4 min ______________________________________________

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05 Anti-Terrain (65 mins) Tue 30th June 7.30pm Landscape is shaped by our relationship to it. Custodianship of the land and its efficacy transcends a human lifetime. Esther Johnson’s Hinterland plays as a poem to the people who inhabit Europe’s fastest eroding coastline. In Semiconductor’s All the Time in the World, the siesmic activity beneath Northumbria is reanimated to sculpt and bring to life the constantly shifting geography. John Hughes & Peter Kennedy, On Sacred Land, Australia, 1983, 6 min extract Semiconductor, All the Time in the World, UK, 2005, 5 min Esther Johnson, Hinterland, UK, 2002, 10 min version Mike Latto, 311, UK, 2007, 10 min Peter Callas, Night’s High Noon: An Anti-Terrain, Australia, 1988, 7:26 min Destiny Deacon, Over d-fence, Australia, 2004, 7 min Daniel Crooks, Static no 10 (falling as a means of rising), Australia, 2007, 7:55 min Susan Norrie & David Mackenzie, Twilight, Australia, 2006, 9:33 min

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[MEZZ is a series of artists’ talks, screenings and performances organised by Louisa Fairclough and Simon Ryder. Each artist shows a number of works or a single installation followed by a talk with a distinct focus: in Mezz#03 David Cotterrell discussed what it meant to him to take on the role of War Artist and Nick Laessing (Mezz #04) described how his research into the Free Energy Movement informs his practice. Mezzanine is an artists-led project. Our aim is to share our enthusiasm for screen-based and performance art within an informal environment of experimentation and dialogue, away from urban centres of art production and consumption. Mezzanine is hosted by Stroud Valleys Artspace in Stroud Gloucestershire. The address is: 4 John Street, Stroud, Gloucestershire GL5 2HA.]

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