Art on the Underground and BFI’s Canary Wharf Screen finale

This month sees the launch of Season Four of the Canary Wharf Screen project – livening up the commute by screening previously unseen footage, rare and restored film, and recent experimental works by some of today¹s most renowned British film & video artists at the east London station.

Solarflares Burn for You, director Arthur Johns, 1973
Solarflares Burn for You, director Arthur Johns, 1973

The project is a collaboration between Art on the Underground and the BFI, which has opened up its National Archive for the screenings within the ticket hall of Canary Wharf tube station.

Canary Wharf Screen kicked off in March this year, heralded by a lovely Wolfram Weidner-designed poster.

Season Four, its final installment, runs until March to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the London Underground. Marking the event is Part Two of the Season, Tales from the Underground. This features a number of films celebrating the tube, including Underground, a silent feature film directed by Anthony Asquith which depicts the London of the 1920s and Ralph Kenne’s film Under Night Streets, which follows the ‘fluffers’ who had the rather unenviable task of cleaning the tube station in the 1950s.

Apparently, they cumulatively cleaned 100 tons a year of dust, human hair and skin flakes from the system, a fact that may see Boris Bike usage spike somewhat.

Birth of a Flower, director Percy E Smith, 1910

Source: Courtesy of BFI

Birth of a Flower, director Percy E Smith, 1910

Preceding these will be a series of films examining the disparity between natural images and the unnatural setting in which they will be screened, including Derek Jarman’s 1985 homoerotic art-house film The Angelic Conversation and the first example of time-lapse photography by Percy E Smith in 1910, as well as extracts of experimental films by UK moving-image artists and historical non-fiction documentaries that aim to conjure a sense of the outdoors in a concrete, subterranean setting.

Snow, director Geoffrey Jones, 1963

Source: Courtesy of BFI

Snow, director Geoffrey Jones, 1963

In a fitting finale to the season, a double bill of feature-length creative archive documentary films will be shown. The movies, by directors Penny Woolcock and Julien Temple, have the rather bold aim of ‘telling the story of the last century’, according to Art on the Underground, ‘, and simultaneously tell the history of film itself.’

The programme will be screened in the ticket hall of Canary Wharf tube station, London E14 from 12th December 2012 ­ March 2013

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