4 July 2013

James Richards, winner of this year’s prestigious Jarman Award, works largely with found video footage, VHS editing, scratch video and live VJ mixing

Richards’ short for Random Acts, however, sees a slightly different style emerge. Today features the presence of the camera in the scene facing up against the danger of the sea.

In addition to his art practice Richards has curated several film programmes at institutions in New York, Glasgow and London. In a piece for Chisenhale Gallery in London, titled Not Blacking Out, Just Turning the Lights Off, Richards’ placed the audience on benches in-between the opposing screens of a two-channel projection, forcing the viewer to awkwardly shuffle around 180° to follow the video content. A bold imposition on the physicality of the viewer, this shows an acute awareness of the physical experience of being in the gallery space. Chris Newlove Horton has commented that this is typical of Richards, “who uses shared anxiety as a means to stimulate empathy”. Read more of Chris Newlove Horton’s review of Richards’ work here.

In a 2009 show for TATE Britain, Call and Bluff, Richards presented a four channel, call-and-response work in which he mixed his own film material with found footage. This practice brings out the recurring influences and themes in his work, displaying a self-consciousness that he maintains in much of his practice. 

Paul Teasdale has described Richards’ video work as locating “natural harmonics and emotional attachments between curious fragments of source material.” By re-appropriating seemingly random and unremarkable fragments of film and video material, Richards creates work that is nonetheless imbued with meaningful moments of pause and reflection. Read the rest of Teasdale’s article on Richards for Frieze Magazine

Today screens on Channel 4 tonight at 12.10, and will then be available on the Random Acts website and artplayer.tv.