Steven Ball

Research Fellow

Central Saint Martins

Biography

Steven Ball has worked in film, video, sound, and installation since the early 1980s. His early practice combined Super 8 film and video, and more recently encompasses digital audio-visual media, in exhibition, online and live, audio-visual and spoken-word performance.

Ball lived in Melbourne, Australia for twelve years, where he continued his practice as well as being engaged in various curatorial, administrative, teaching and writing activities, before returning to the UK in 2000.His recent work has developed from an earlier engagement with landscape and spatial representation, with an emphasis on relationships between local and global situations, reflecting various social, political, environmental and post-colonial conditions, and often situated within and between the UK and Australia, with works such as The Ground, the Sky, and the Island (video 2008), Speakers (spoken word/sound performance, various iterations London and Sydney 2009 – 2016), and his collaboration with John Conomos, Deep Water Web (Furtherfield Gallery and online 2016). More locally the experimental documentary Concrete Heart Land (video with Rastko Novakovic, 2014) traces issues surrounding the gentrification of Elephant and Castle in South London.

Ball also writes, performs, and releases song recordings, writes on contemporary and historical moving image related art practice, and occasionally curates screenings and exhibitions. Collections: LUX (London), British Film Institute, CaixaForum (Spain), dLux Media Arts (Sydney), Deakin University (Melbourne).

Research interests

Artists' moving image, experimental film, video art, media art, and Expanded Cinema; medium-specificity; archives and collections; landscape and urban space; post-colonialism.

Research statement

Working within the context of the British Artists' Film and Video Study Collection at Central Saint Martins, my research has broadly encompassed historical and contemporary artists' moving image, post expanded cinema practices, and their relationship to contemporary collections and archives.

The main strand of my current research focuses on the ways in which artists’ moving image serves to embody or illuminate the complex post-colonial relationship between Australia and the UK. I am developing comparative studies of contemporary and historical works, movements and collectives, which weave through subjects such as landscape, aboriginality, migration, trauma, environmentalism, urbanism, gentrification, post-modernity, and post-colonialism, with artists’ moving image functioning as a lens through which to examine the social, political and cultural phenomena both in common and unique to both societies. The research is predicated on the conviction that artists’ moving image practice can make a significant contribution to understanding and illuminating societal processes, concerns and phenomena, with artworks considered as material reflective embodiment, critique, and illustration of such concerns. It builds on a number of collaborative projects with Australian artists, curators and institutions, and incorporates my own artistic practice, drawing upon my expertise in artists’ moving image and my experience of working and living in both the UK and Australia.

I also convene (with Susan Trangmar) and participate in the Central Saint Martins based sensingsite research group, a platform for researchers and artists to present work exploring issues of place, space, and site, across diverse media and approaches. 

Students

Current students & thesis titles

Julie Marsh, How can the moving image be used to materialise the physical essence of place?

Neus Miró Gonzalez, The Evolution of Exhibition Grammar since the 1960s due to the Assimilation of Moving Image Practices into the Art Gallery and Art Museum.

Eleanor Suess, Constructing the architectural moving drawing: transdisciplinary practices between architecture and artists’ film.

Completed students & thesis titles

Claire M. Holdsworth, HISTORY HAS TONGUES: re-evaluating historiography of the moving image through analysis of the voice and critical writing in British artists’ film and video of the 1980’s.

Selected research outputs