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PEER (2020)

‘Trashy but joyous- really takes you back to being a kid at the seaside’

‘When it’s over such a long period of time [footage for the film has been collected over nearly 20 years], the seaside remains the seaside, but things change and the way we record it changes. When you revisit the seaside arcades you went to as a kid, they have lost their sparkle.’

‘As a viewer, you are aware that you are being led to view something - your gaze is being directed which it always is but the viewfinder makes you heightenedly aware of that.’

‘I felt like I was attached to a telescope that is blowing around and every time it stops for a second it would focus on something else’

'Lee Campbell’s film Peer plays, disruption with tech, everyone plays on their own screen, intimacy with the piece, nostalgia, seaside memories, toilet roll tube, childhood, sticky floors and arcades, collecting footage and collecting mementos, darkness, danger, protect the observer, voyeurism, creepy, peepy, kaleidoscope, 50p telescope, control the viewers senses, Steve McQueen Ashes, John Akomfrah Vertigo Sea, the seaside remains, trashy but joyous, pushing rubbish equipment to its limits, play with scale.'

PEER was made with sound and moving image recordings made on a Sony Ericsson Cybershoot K800i mobile phone between 2005-2007, stills taken on a Nokia 95 phone in 2010, pencil drawings made on the backs of postcards and seashells in 2010, performance documentation from 2006-2008, and audio and moving image recording made on an iPhone in 2020.

PEER (2020) aims to capture the strangeness of the British seaside using a telescope that operates like a blinking voyeuristic eye.

At surface level, the film is made up of just three simple elements: 1) mechanical viewfinder eye 2) the word ‘peer’) 3) footage behind. It may be easy to watch but there is so much to take from it. Putting together disparate images then allowing viewers to draw their own story, Peer reuses performance documentation and footage from my archive as an artist/performance art where the original event (performance/painting/drawing) didn’t have that story. This includes drawings plus footage of my parents on our holidays in the early 2000s. What is ‘seen through' the telescope combines nostalgia, British cheekiness, slapstick and a play on words (peer, pier etc.)

The film begins by informing the viewer where the footage is from and where it has been collected over the years What is then 'seen through' the telescope combines nostalgia, British cheekiness, slapstick, a play on words (peer, pier etc.) through a range of media including black and white drawings reminiscent of the work of artists William Kentridge and Tacita Dean that speak of a dark narrative through their nostalgia intercut with snapshots of human activity that pick up the vibes of the seaside. The telescope eye used as a mask throughout the whole film is constantly trying to focus. When’s the word 'peer' going to disappear you may ask as it comes and goes all the time. Through its excessive repetition, after a certain amount of time of seeing it on screen, it suddenly stops meaning what it means, and the viewer starts doubting what it means. Creative green screen usage in films has been around forever and could be said to feel retro but in PEER it doesn’t as green screen is used to review history.

  • Lee Campbell
    Director
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    18 minutes 52 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 1, 2020
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • The Oneness Festival by Cineshorts Premiere in association with Red Polka Productions and Retrospective of Jupiter

    August 14, 2020
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Lee Campbell

Dr Lee Campbell is an artist, experimental filmmaker, curator, lecturer at University of the Arts London and founder of Homo Humour Films, the first of its kind project on contemporary queer male film and moving image practices that explore humour and LGBTQ+ storytelling. His recent moving image work revolves around his personal autobiographical perspective and explores (gay male) identity and desire. Comedy is an integral part of his work. He uses it to engage, disarm, and highlight.

He completed a BA in Painting in 2000, a Masters in Painting in 2007 and received his doctorate PhD in 2016 and was part of the artist studio programme Conditions between 2018-2020. Key performances include Whitstable Biennale 2008 and artist residencies at The Banff Centre, Canada 2012 and Spazju Kreattiv, Malta 2019. In 2009, his performance work was featured in a publication written by Bob and Roberta Smith called Hijack Reality: How to Guide to Organize a Really Top-Notch Art Festival. Between 2007-2011, he regularly performed as part of Testing Grounds.

His recent films have been selected for many international film festivals including Queerbee LGBT Film Festival in London, SPLICE Film Festival, New York, MicroMania Film Festival, MicroActs International Artist Film Festival 2020, and The Gilbert Baker Film Festival, Kansas 2020. Future screenings of his films include HOMOGRAPHY, Brussels, Visions 2020 selected by Hetain Patel, The Nunnery, Bow Arts Trust, London, Porn Film Festival, Vienna, Satyrs and Maenads: the Athens Porn Film Festival, Athens, and Pornfilmfestival, Berlin in 2021. He wasawarded a Special Mention at London-Worldwide Comedy Short Film Festival Autumn 2019 and won Semi-Finalist (3rd place winner) at SPLICE Film Festival, New York in 2020.

In 2020 he has been featured in John Hopper’s Inspirational magazine, appeared as a guest speaker for Tim Kirk’s ZERO Q: 20 QUESTIONS WITH INTERESTING PEOPLE FROM THE LGBT COMMUNITY and featured twice already this year on Queerguru.com.

Between 2005-2008, he curated All for Show, an internationally touring film showreel of emerging and established British moving image artists whose work exposed the banalities of everyday life through humour, self-introspection and serious play. In 2020, Lee has curated Radical Ventriloquism at Kelder, London and presented Homo Humour Films screenings in Miami and Italy (Online).

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Director Statement

PEER was made with sound and moving image recordings made on a Sony Ericsson Cybershoot K800i mobile phone between 2005-2007, stills taken on a Nokia 95 phone in 2010, pencil drawings made on the backs of postcards and seashells in 2010, performance documentation from 2006-2008, and audio and moving image recording made on an iPhone in 2020.

Creative green screen usage in films has been around forever and could be said to feel retro but in PEER it doesn’t as green screen is used to review history.