Words by Ashleigh Goodwin
It often feels like there is a momentary hush over the city as we pick ourselves up off 2017’s floor and stumble into 2018. We could spend this transitional time recovering from the short-lived break, however mac is offering an alternative – welcoming in the New Year with Playback, ‘an interactive exhibition showcasing over 200 short films made by young artist filmmakers from across the country’.
Playback runs in mac’s First Floor Gallery from 7th to 24th January, open 11am-5pm from Tuesdays to Sundays. Admission to Playback is free. For direct info, including venue details and the wider facilities available at mac, click here.
Playback is a joint initiative funded by Arts Council England and the exhibition’s creator, Random Acts – a Channel 4 spawned endevour which launched in March 2017 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. Playback aims to shine a spotlight on new work by providing support, funding and exhibition opportunities to ‘young artist filmmakers from across the country’. With some of these ‘remarkable and award-winning shorts’ being made within ‘in and around Birmingham’, Playback promises visitors ‘the chance to see the people, places and creativity of your city onscreen.’
The exhibition allows you to explore the bodies of work at your own pace, using interactive touch screens, and features genres including spoken word, comedy and drama. As mac’s website states, the films being exhibited at Playback ‘span a range of art forms and topics – from krumping and parkour dance shorts, to an animated tale of teenage love that unearths our desire to be as cool as the zines we read.’
Birmingham’s prominence continues to grow around the many aspects of film, with the city seeing an influx of location shooting on its streets as well as increasing ties to organisations such as the British Film Institute and Marv Films. Added to this, the number of ways to access film in Birmingham has grown significantly within the past few years, with cinemas such as The Electric, The Mockingbird and Everyman supporting independent, current and cult productions through their programmes. Events such as the Flatpack Film Festival and the Birmingham Film Festival have become annual platforms for filmmakers, often bolstered by a rolling calendar of events to celebrate and support initiative new works, such as those programmed by Flatpack: Assemble.
Playback has the potential to fit nicely between these established city operators, by providing support to independent artists with the ‘festival feel’ offered by the variety and quantity of pieces exhibited. It could be that Playback’s ‘USP’ is that it allows a more open and customer driven experience as you are free to examine whatever you choose, whenever you choose.
As well as its exhibition at mac’s First Floor Gallery this January, Playback is being toured throughout England in ‘major galleries, libraries and multi-arts venues’ – culminating with the Playback Festival 2018, to be held at the Institute of Contemporary Arts from 21st to 25th March ‘18.
Playback – coming to mac’s First Floor Gallery 04-24.01.18
For more on Playback at mac, visit www.macbirmingham.co.uk/exhibition/playback
To view a list of all the Playback dates across the UK, visit www.ica.art/ica-off-site/touring-exhibitions/playback/about-playback-touring-exhibition-association-random-acts
For more from mac, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.macbirmingham.co.uk