Filming Disgraceful Conduct on location.
Gerry McCulloch is a visual artist who works with immersive film, digital cinema, sequential art, photography, watercolour and light painting. He is often to be found oscillating between involuntary bouts of inarticulate competence and articulate incompetence. His artworks adorn the bathroom doors of his most indulgent friends and admirers. You can read some of their comments here.
Gerry is an award-winning cinematographer and photographer with broadcast and exhibition credits in film drama, documentary, television advertising commercials and promotional music videos. He currently operates Darshana Photo Art, was previously a Director of Untold Productions and did a stint as a film editor at the BBC. His current areas of interest include: cinematography as a mode of creative enquiry (Transpires); liminal fiction narrated with moving light (Skin Work); pre-verbal signification in sequential art (Shadow, Incantation); contrast and counterpoint in pre-conscious narrative events (Isolates); and feature documentaries in Asia (Akong, We Were Kings).
Gerry is Head of Cinematography, Film Editing and Sound Design With cinematographer Cesar Charlone ABC (City of God, City of Men, The Constant Gardener) of the MA in Filmmaking at Goldsmiths, University of London. He convenes the Cinematography pathway of the programme and is keen to capitalise on the lack of commercial and executive controls in education as a creative opportunity for student filmmakers. He lectures internationally on the subject of Visual Storytelling.
Since he launched the programme in 2006, the Goldsmiths MA in Filmmaking has established itself as one of the UK's leading postgraduate film courses. Teaching is delivered by film industry professionals and films are premiered at a gala screening in a West End cinema in London. Many of the films go on to win awards and course alumni are active in the creative industries around the world.
While devising the Goldsmiths curriculum, Gerry completed two Fellowships and was presented with a Peake Award for excellence in teaching. He is the Academic Link for the Puttnam School of Film in Singapore; is External Examiner on Film and Photography programmes at Bournemouth University, Queen Mary, University of London and the University of Surrey. Through the Goldsmiths Asia Society, he contributes to the rebuilding of Arts Higher Education in Burma at the National Universities of Arts and Culture in Yangon and Mandalay.
Travelling with Shankaran Kuti in Kerala
Gerry has made films with household names like Helena Bonham Carter and Paul Whitehouse and with world figures such as Fidel Castro. He has undertaken photo and cine work in Namibia, Senegal, Cuba, Canada, the USA, Mexico, Venezuela, Japan, Tibet, Nepal, Laos, Sri Lanka, India, Cambodia, Burma, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and most countries in Europe. His work has been exhibited at Getty Images Gallery, Los Angeles Centre for Digital Art, Rotterdam Centre for Contemporary Art, The Mall Gallery, The Strand Gallery, Dulwich Picture Gallery, Oxo Bargehouse Gallery, Embassy Warehouse Gallery, Greenwich Viewfinder Gallery,Goldsmiths Gallery and Photofusion. He has featured in a broad range of publications including The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Wall Street Journal, Laissez Faire and Tricycle magazines. His creative practice informs his teaching and takes two forms:
A selection of Untold sound-bytes:
The Observer: “Makes the eyes brim and the heart swell. Inspiring, moving and personal.” TV interview about Transpires
The Guardian: “Glorious and uplifting. A little piece of magic charted with warmth and humanity. Dispels the myth that there’s such a thing as an ‘ordinary’ person.
The London Evening Standard: "Filmmaking of great warmth, a quality that many filmmakers filter out of their work nowadays, mistakenly equating cynicism with objectivity.”
Time Out: “A memorable gem. A factual subject approached creatively. A film that doesn’t pander to the trend for idiot narration set against bite-sized chunks of exposition.”
The Morning Star: “A joy to watch. The filmmakers deserve plaudits galore for this major achievement.”
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Gerry is currently engaged in a long-term immersive film project entitled That Which Transpires Behind That Which Appears. Transpires has been exhibited at the London
Sonic Immersive Media Lab, and additional iterations are in progress for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; Times Square Arts in New York and Objectifs Film & Photography in Singapore. Transpires consists of multiple large-scale, projection-mapped, moving-image portraits, filmed from inside the intimate spaces of subjects, using a hidden arrangement of mirrors. Transpires functions as an antidote to politics of estrangement founded on difference, and aims to de-stigmatises otherness. Engaging with the work dissolves boundaries of language, religion, politics, ethnicity, age, gender, socio-economic status and personal sovereignty. Participants subliminally discover that in vital respects we are all “the other person” to one another.
While established photographic terminology is replete with the language of aggressive material acquisition (we ‘take’ pictures; we ‘shoot’ photographs and films; we ‘capture’ images), Transpires advocates a receptive rather than an acquisitive approach, in which the production of images is conceived of as an interaction between perceiver and perceived, not as a conquest.
In an era of aggressive, competitive individualism (paradoxically founded on dualism), Transpires proposes a unified alternative. The accent is on inter-connectedness, not otherness and the status of the process is in equanimous balance with the product. In this configuration of creativity, the artists position themselves as unselfconscious catalysts rather than self-determined authors. Participants and observers are regarded as co-creators and collaborators.
With Myanmar Photographic Society in Yangon
The artwork is not ‘about’ the subject. Indeed, no hierarchy is proposed between artist and subject. The artist advances no conceptual message that resides elsewhere in some halcyon space requiring intricate explication to be decoded by an intellectual elite. Instead, the work has evolved with inclusivity as its core. Integrated meaning transpires entirely through involuntary experiential interaction. Filming at Kagyu Monlam Chanmo, Bodhgaya
The film elements in Transpires comprise entirely of the simplest unit of filmmaking - the close-up. There is no set, no action, no actors, no dialogue and no editing. Framing is uninflected, using a standard fixed-lens under neutral lighting. Voluntary participants see no camera, there is no costume or make-up and only minimal guidance is offered. Nonetheless, this amalgamation of non-interventions provokes maximum meaning from minimum means.
Participants encounter increased levels of innate, silent correspondence with others – a connection that transmits in mediated form to observers via screens in gallery and cinema contexts. A selection of feedback from Transpires participants:
“This artwork brings us a step closer to world peace.”
“It should be mandatory for Heads of State to participate in this experiment.”
“I would take part in this project on a weekly basis if I could.”
With legendary cinematographers Witold Stok and Christopher Doyle