Allister Galll
(Associate lecturer Media Arts, PhD candidate, and coordinator and initiator of the Imperfect Cinema collective)

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Imperfect practice


Since the beginning of my practice-led PhD research in 2009, I have been developing ideas relating to what I term Imperfect practice. Imperfection is understood here as an ethos with aesthetic and social implications. Based around a film / video practice, the project has worked on dismantling notions of expertise, whilst building a network of practitioners involved in the direct exchange of their work. Imperfect practice is a flexible concept, focused on the development of contexts that instigate participation and challenge the aesthetics of exclusivity. The overarching intention is to embed the participatory potential of new media production in a space of social exchange.

Imperfect practice, therefore, questions some of the boundaries between academy and the inherent activism at the core of my research. I have attempted to develop a third space, between activism and the academy, in which the tensions between these two poles can interact.

Imperfect practice has been developed through two principal projects: Imperfect Cinema and Expanded Imperfection.

Imperfect Cinema

I initiated the Imperfect Cinema project in 2010 in collaboration with Dan Paolantontio (Film Leader of Film Arts at Plymouth College of Art). We wanted to instigate a participatory film project situated in non-traditional spaces. We developed one rule-based element: all films had to be three minutes or less on any subject. This simple rule translates the idea of a punk song onto the screen and has been a key driver of the aesthetic. This rule leaves the question of content open and provides interesting structures and encounters between the works. Since 2010, we have produced over 20 events and workshops. These include: the Interstate gallery Brooklyn, New York, the Supersonic festival in Birmingham, Besides the Screen conference (Goldsmith) the Plymouth Art Centre and last years Imperfect Takeover in collaboration with Peninsula Arts.

For more information as to how to get involved, please see: www.imperfectcinema.com

New initiatives include The River Tamar Project – two workshops and production and screening of participatory video. This will involve working with community groups on trains and in walking around Devonport. The final piece will include use of Endicott archive footage.

Expanded Imperfection

Expanded Imperfection translates the social, aesthetic and participatory ideas developed with the Imperfect Cinema collective, into expanded film/video community projects. The aim is to create platforms for new voices, transformative experiences and face-to-face interaction. Through all these project, I have been using imperfection as its core ethos.

So far, I have worked with: Children in Care and Young Devon, using still photography and video as a liberating tool for expression, reflection and empowerment; directing a collaborative project with drama and dance postgraduate students, working with Children with autism exploring ethnofiction and improvisation as a communicative tool; leading several cine-clubs with local secondary school children, community centres and Outreach opportunities at Plymouth University, providing spaces in which to explore play, process and experimental Media Art production outside of traditional learning experiences.