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Film courtesy of the artist and LUX, London

“With the record selection, and the mirror’s reflection, I’m dancing with myself.”

MAP Screen—Autumn 2012

Miranda Pennell ‘ Human Radio’, 2002, 9 minutes

This selection, played out on MAP over the coming months, will capture people, most of them untrained, dancing in their own environments to music. All the works are inextricably linked to an expression of the body in space, its response to sound and a love of dance.

Moving to music is an instinctive impulse, a pre-language form of expression. Our infant bodies respond to music, but typically in adolescence take a different, newly self-conscious stance. As adults we are often resourceful and dance when we can—at a class, a party, or in the kitchen, when our home is temporarily transformed into our very own stage, ballroom or nightclub. Whether partnered or alone, the instance of being in our own domestic space, without the judgement of an audience, allows us an impulsive freedom; to improvise, fantasise, and to be ourselves.

The first, ‘Human Radio’ by Miranda Pennell, looks at individuals and couples dancing in their bedrooms, gardens and homes. Her recording transforms them into performers aware of the camera’s gaze and the audience beyond. None is professional; the participants responded to an advert Pennell placed in a local London newspaper for ‘Living room dancers’. Of course these private moments are carefully choreographed and tightly constructed for the camera, an idealised version of our/their living-room antics. The constructs of film-making alter the everyday environments into performance spaces through lighting, make-up, costumes, camera angles and editing, presenting a polished version of these private moments for the voyeur.


Miranda Pennell originally trained in contemporary dance and later studied visual anthropology at Goldsmiths, London. Much of her work has explored aspects of performance through film and video, and has centred on a range of human subjects that has included teenage ice-skaters, amateur and professional dancers, fight directors, soldiers and rock drummers. Her most recent and current work uses archive photographs as a material for film. Pennell’s film and video work has been shown in different contexts including independent cinema, gallery and broadcast. Her films and videos have received awards at international film festivals, and funding from Arts Council England, Film London’s Artists Film and Video Awards, BBC and the Channel 4 British Documentary Foundation. She has recently received a three-year AHRC scholarship at the University of Westminster.Debi Banerjee is an Edinburgh-based artist, curator and educator. She was Programme Fellow at Stills, Edinburgh (2009-11) where she initiated Film Lounge, a moving-image exhibition and resource space. Her most recent projects include (P)layed, 2012, where she worked closely with Laura Edbrook, Ailsa Lochhead & Sarah Smith to edit a film sourced from existing film media, and Square Dance, 2011, which combined film and live performance.

Go to MAP Screen in the Theme search to find more text and information on the full MAP Screen [One] programme.