Coal Dust and Decrepitude: An exploration of filth and desire in the GPO film Units ‘Coal Face’ and Darren Almond’s ‘Schacta’ Part of AdrI Research


In the light of the GPO Film Units ‘Coal Face’ [2] certain issues in Darren Almond’s (2001) film ‘Schacta’ become particularly poignant, introducing a new problematic when the two films are read against each other. I will explore the reduction of socio-political problems to an aesthetic, a series of symbols pivoting around industrial filth. I will expose this through analysis of the homoerotic dimensions across both films then into analysis of Arthur J. Munby’s desire for certain signs, muddy thighs, coal dust blackened faces. I will bring the latent desires, homoerotic and for a filthy aesthetic in the two films to a similar albeit subtle scenario in the obsessive paintings of Edwin Butler Baylis. Across all these cases, as I will explore, the intentionality in the artist (or social reformer) is exposed as propelled or propagated by a desire which lies unexplored on the part of the subject as a kind of object -fetishisation.

I will begin my analysis with the scenes inside the mine in ‘Coal Face’

Shot opens on the miners walking in single file through an underground tunnel, the rhythm of the music in time with their step. The vocal chorus percussively lists the various jobs associated with the mine ‘Driver-wasteman-overman-barrowman-inspector...’ We see the shadows of each man pass across the walls; the men are shot from waist up and frontally illuminated. Cut to a shot of a miner’s arrival at the seam. We watch him peel off his top, teasing it out from belt and trousers. This is the closest the camera has yet positioned itself; the miner seems trapped between the camera and the flat coal seam behind him. Close up on a leg, then a bent over backside, a shot of a miner from slightly below looking up at his torso as he swings his pick. The camera then shifts position to directly behind him, back muscles illuminated against the black background, lines and contour of shoulders emphasised by the lighting as are the patches of dust on the shoulder and the intermittent marks where the spinal cord rises, coal dust, or scabs form banging the back in low tunnels....

The electric safety lamps light the miners in a circular fashion, Hands and legs cut off as we cut back to a slightly wider shot. The overlaid lighting from behind the camera echoes this disjuncture in the closer shots, parts of the body cut off at the expense of others. The possibility of a full body shot is not allowed us, impressing further the cramped vulnerability of the miner. The indentation of ribs and arm muscles are emphasised by the coatings of dirt, becoming almost like body paint when set against the increasingly theatrical chorus rhythms. A close up of a Davy lamp gives us a blurred glimpse of a miners groin, cut to a miners arms moving repetitively back and forth , teasing the coal from the seam with bare hands this time, a filthy back glistens, illuminated in the dark-neck bulges-another arse shot as the miner bends down to retrieve a lump of coal. The narrator informs us of the production capacity for each man as we watch them labour, clearly to inspire awe at the workers strength and endurance. The chorus sings of the minerals of the earth’s crust with intermittent exclamations of‘Coal!.....Coal!’

The soundtrack changes as the next shot reveals the miners sitting next to the coal face having a lunch break, the shots, still limited to waist up, the chorus murmurs mournfully, over-laid at moments by drifts of an upbeat whistle. There is also at this point some overlaid dialogue about the heat, which does not come from the lips of either man. This conversational dialogue, added post production it seems, adds to the dis-juncture the sound brings to an image as a whole, rendering it explicit that we are being denied hearing what is going on, in this, the only social interaction in the miner’s seven and a half hour shift. The two miners focused on here are still naked from the waist up, a close up, slowly (in almost sinister fashion echoing Nosferatu), a miners filthy hand , almost black reaches for his white bread sandwich as it rests on its newspaper packet. The music again develops an urgency of tone. We are returned to close shots of the miners, closing in on their faces for the first time as they eat. One has ingrained dirt on his face and what looks like a scar on his cheek. Both are sitting full frontally, nipples and hairy chests are visible as they eat. Then, cut to a man we have not seen before-a younger man. We view him side on yet closely as he leads languidly against the seam, taking bites of his sandwich. He is delicate featured and lit by a brighter light than the other men, emphasising his light eyelashes and feminine nose against the dark background. Only the skin beneath his pectoral muscles begins to darken amongst chest hair, individual strands illuminated below the nipples. The camera is almost touching this miner’s shoulder. He seems almost self conscious momentarily and makes a slight sideways glance toward the camera whilst passing sandwich to mouth. (This is almost a pin up picture, reminiscent of Thomas Eakins photographs or the lighting of George Platt Lynes).  The young man had an appealing face as well as muscular body, perhaps betraying too much of the camera mans intentionality in lingering on him a lone rather than in pairs as with the other miners. The chorus is at this point humming in appreciative manner. From behind a miner’s shoulder we watch him lift a bottle to mouth. Next shot a man moves quickly across the screen buttocks up, head down, pushing a tub of coal. Then we have a quick succession of images: the electric coal cutter, slicing through the seam, the pulling of chains, turning cogs and tumbling coal. The chorus adopts an anxious tone as the narrator tells us everyday 450miners are injures and maimed, the drum rhythms speed up further to a rumble as we watch a backside move hastily away from the camera out of shot , another tub, pushed into the darkness.. There is more attention to cogs pulleys and mechanisms as we move above. The chorus becomes increasingly frantic ‘Were going out! out! out!’  A woman’s voice is introduced just before the miners exit their cage, not forming words at first but uttering exhaultant shrieks which develop into a kind of wavering operatic pitch. Three or four women begin to sing together and the voices take on an increasingly soothing tone as the camera moves into a more domestic space. The chorus here emphasises the lack of a female visual presence in the film, there are none in the mine and the streets above seem strangely empty

Darren almonds approach t the subject is notably different, his choices directotorially reflecting an awareness of his precursors as I will explore. Unlike ‘Coal face’, ‘ Schachta’ has no narrative structure and no voice over to direct our gaze socially or politically. The film is much longer- a 50 minute loop against the 11 minutes of coal face. Slowed down digital footage is shown on dual screens with moments extended temporally. The screen on the right shows the pit head changing rooms, in muted colour with a long lens. We are shown men getting ready for shifts and changing after shifts, slowly slipping off shirts, toweling themselves. Men gradually replace each other through the shift cycles, slowly again dressing, undressing or just standing still, probably just for seconds in real time although through the speed of the footage, rendered drawn out and pensive.

The screen on the left shows the shaft through which the miners descend on by one to the coal face on a T bar lift. The camera work is a little shaky here, revealing the miner’s precarious position as he is lowered down the shaft. The tunnel becomes darker, the metal girders, rib-like stabilising the tunnel become harder to make out in the light from the miner’s helmet. The camera is trailing the top of his head as he is lowered; slight movements below in the dark indicate the feet swaying on the bar.

This footage is edited together as if to seem like an endless descent, emphasising the fact that the coal face itself is never arrived at. We are shown no manual labour at all, just the promise of arrival in the miner being lowered and the aftermath of the shift in the changing room, the washing/cleansing of the bodies. In this way Almond is clearly trying to avoid heroicising the labouring man, a problematic of the ‘Coal face’ scenes I have analysed, although in being perhaps over careful here, he denies the viewer the potential to explore that in between space( where we perhaps , more dangerously, re-exoticise it as a space of our own fantasy). It seems interesting that the primitive working conditions in a mine in Kazakhstan, the crux of a dialogue surrounding treatment of the post Soviet worker should be denied us, especially as Almond sites his initial interest in the project as revealing a similarity in working conditions with the mine his grandfather worked in the north of England.

Almond is cautious again with his use of the long lens ‘’hoping to avoid a voyeuristic feel’’. [3]

Comparisons with ‘Coal Face’ crystallize here in the proximity of the footage to the subject. Recalling the miner caught between camera and coal face in the claustrophobic depths of the pit prompts us into noticing the space given to the subject between camera and back wall of the vast changing room of ‘Schacta’. At some points there are up to five topless men in the changing room, slightly blurred with digital pixilation.  Framed from afar like this, the voyeuristic tone is not ‘avoided’ just shifted into a different frame of visual analysis, our familiarity with blurred distant paparazzi shots or a ‘peeping tom’ aesthetic. This is a different kind of gaze, opening a net in which to frame and catch the subject rather than hunting it with quick, close, urgent shots. When a large pink arm looms close to the camera lens we are reminded that the close up is ‘incidental’ the subject came up to the camera of his own volition rather than being sought by the camera.

Outlining some contrasts here it is clear that Almond has some awareness of the documentary film history surrounding the subject and certainly the homoerotic undertones of the 1930’s documentary are historically well trodden ground. As viewer we acknowledge Almond as an artist who uses film as a medium rather than a documentary maker and in this sense we are not expecting a political response or social commentary, yet it seems in Almond’s awareness of the difficulties in representing the subject he encounters similar problems as Calvacanti, Grierson, Auden et al, in their middle class didactic documentary approach.

These difficulties manifest in a number of ways, firstly in the treatment of dirt and cleanliness and then in the soundtrack which was what first drew me into a comparison of the two films.

In ‘Shacta’ the miner is reduced to an act of ritual cleansing enhanced by the female shamans ritual chant, prompting us to notice the lack of women in the space( as in ‘Coal face’ as I will explore)enhancing the heterotopic qualities of this enclosed space as historically depicted through homoerotic gaze. Almond suggests the presence of coal related filth as unacceptable through concentrating on this washing and dressing and framing it as ritual. Looking back to the miner’s blackened hand reaching for the white sandwich in ‘coal Face’ we are aware that such filth is not acceptable in domestic space. The almost violent otherness it provokes is clearly depicted in D.H. Lawrence’s writings ............ the Female chant ‘oversees’ the men in their cleansing before they can be integrated into the outer world.


Almond’s emphasis on the cleansing of the miners skin notes the prior sexualisation of the subject and fetishisation of the dirt on skin. The sweat and hair, a focus on the abject in ‘Coal Face’ draws attention to the skins textures and surfaces in a way which also reveals the vulnerability of the flesh and skin in the industrial setting. In a limited way we are made aware of what it would mean visually for the skin to be ripped, crushed , to bleed, the possibility is present in the tiny scabs and scars. As a part of this veneer of damage other bodily fluids are imagined, sexual and nonsexual but end up as homogenised in this imagined aesthetic as prompted by the footage rather than as present and dangerous possibility. The soundtracks serve to further distance us from our subject and the immediacy of the situation. We are excused from entering into their stifling space with all our senses on alert, we can imagine the close heat and see the muscular labouring flesh but are excluded from any sound of industrial labour and Precluded on a social front from any communication or camaraderie between the miners. In this way we are prevented from beginning to understand any politics of social injury through lack of affect even though the narrator relays the facts and figures of accidents.

The framing and camera work in both films as I have already begun to explore seem to be limited in exposing any social commentary and come dangerously close to the ‘ballet mechanique’[4] talked about by Almond’s catalogue writer, although interesting modernist reference if applied to the era of’ Coal Face’ it is pejorative when overlaid upon ‘Schacta’. A silent ballet, a dance which not only in its suggestion de humanises the subject as some kind of unassailable mechanism but can be nothing if not voyeuristic in its removal of the subject from the dangers of the industrial setting to a culturally different space where it can be safely critiqued( The ballet, the theatre).As mentioned it is clear that Almond has tried to give some space to the discourse surrounding the miner with his gesture of long lens and wide shots, on reflection I imagine he himself would not be satisfied with the films reduction to ‘ballet mechanique’, yet the film falls into line with coal face through the silencing of the miner and the sound tracks masking of natural sound, leading to connotations with a silent gestural ballet on the part of ‘Scachta’ and implications of ‘ventriloquism as drag performance’ [5]in readings of ‘coal face’ as I will explore presently.

 (Would be interesting to Relate to Steve McQueen film western deep at this the use of a real soundtrack.)

Referencing back to the homoerotic photographs mentioned in analysis of ‘Coal Face’ it is possible to see a trace or presence of the Victorian penchant for the classically posed photographic subject followed through into 1930’s representative codes. Not so much here in the posing of the subject but with the lighting choices and framing. We are now dealing with middle class observation rather than interference as with the Victorian photographers (with their setting of classical narratives through use of props). Yet we still feel a hangover to a classical frame, echoing Durieu’s male nudes, muscular arms, chests, labourer’s bodies. References which feed through both time zones as representative of middle class man’s admiration for, and possible jealousy of, the virile worker.

In both cases ways are being sought through which to validate the insistence of the gaze, for the intrigue provoked by the viewed subject to be worked through a legitimate prism. As in the early Homoerotic photographs “If the nude was otherwise vulgar, even pornographic, the use of classical motifs certified the male body as valid aesthetic object”[6]Such images were validated by what Allen Ellenzweig calls the “imprimatur of the antique”[7].In ‘Coal Face’ the dirt and darkness simulates this ‘antiquing’ along with the grain of the film stock in the close up shots. The director or cameraman hark back somehow to these photographs in the framing decisions. Clothing draped over a naked shoulder or just in shot, knelt upon whilst eating, folds accentuated in the semi darkness. The inclusion of the fabric in the shot speaks of the arrangements and props in the Victorian nude photography, then in turn, to the folds of drapery in earlier painting, the atelier nude scenes for example.

This ‘antiquing’ - referencing earlier trends in painting and photography - ages the subject and also leaves it open to decay. As discussed, the miner in ‘Coal Face’ often appears in detail as damaged, the focus on dirt patches, scars and the cutting up of the body parts through camera position and lighting choice. The miner can be read in the same breath as a classical statue, contrasts present between say, a weather damaged face, missing arm and a perfectly intact plump stone torso. It is the separation of the body parts which leads to a concentration upon the coal dust and scabs on the miners skin which can, I will develop, be read symbiotically as eroticised ornamentation.

It is now useful for me to refer to the erotic tastes of Arthur Munby for a way in which both films can be read through his reduction of socio-political problems to an aesthetic, a voyeuristic desire for certain signs, dirty faces, muddied thighs, masked outwardly by his guise as champion of the woman worker. The way Munby operated in his life and work serves as an interesting vehicle through which to bring forth the latent desires for the filthy aesthetic I have begun to discuss. This particular aesthetic calls in to question the ‘works’ usefulness in traversing a political issue, whether in documentary or ‘art’ film due to the reduction of the subject to a series of limited over aestheticised codes of representation. I will bring the films I have discussed into comparison with a similar scenario present in the paintings of Edwin Butler Baylis. It will become clear that in the cases discussed, the intentionality of the artist/director is propelled or at least propagated as desire lying unresolved and coming out sideways as object fetishisation.

Arthur Munby’s encounters with women as recorded in his diaries are always detailed with a similar excitement. Descriptions of the working women are interlaced with details of their defects relating to industrial accident or laws relating to coal dust and grime, breaking the subject down again into a series of parts or textures. The milkmaid’s hands “tough and leathery in the palms, hardening into yellow callouses-corns she would call them-at the root of the fingers”[8]. He speaks with regret that a road sweeper nymph will leave the profession which “Mud-staines her delicate complexion” and makes her “wet through her thin clothing”[9], after puberty she wishes to sell oranges instead she tells him. He later admires a maid servant’s hair “All foul with dust and heat”[10].

Munby is constantly scouring the women for trinkets of deformity or dirt. He talks of marks and callouses as if they were ‘becoming’ in ways universally understood. With exited flourish he talks about the beauty of a filthy face, a scar, a dirtied hand, as if the women were ornamented somehow by make- up, flowers or delicate veils. Yet Munby had no interest in these conventional tropes of beauty: when faced with the prospect of photographing nude, a clean, respectable young woman he walks off in disgust[11], in preference he would rather a woman whose nose has been smashed in an industrial accident[12]pose for him.

The reduction of the subject to a series of codes here feeds back into coal face holding back on a full body image of the miner and revealing instead a disjointed set of often flawed body parts. Tensions in the interest in the ‘brave heroic worker’ and the fascination with texture and filth which creates patternation of visual interest.

Munby seems to admire similar things in his women to those we are prompted to admire in the men in coal face, full bloodedness and strength. On following ‘dustwenches’ over Westminster bridge in the hope of a photograph, he writes “All in dirt as she was...course masculine sister!”[13]. He androgenises the women and only appreciates the male form through female traits, when admiring a male acrobat he fixates upon “calf, ankle and foot, as elegantly turned as a lady’s”[14]. It seems to arouse him when one sex comes close to another and finds it titillating when the servant girls act in chivalrous manner, offering to carry his bags etc.

Here a wiling feminisation on the part of the voyeur is revealed, an excitement in the slippage of gender which can be read back into 1930’s documentary. The almost deferential homage on the part of Auden and Britain in their heroicising ‘coal face’ soundtrack. An admiration for strength which slips easily into sexual attraction on the part of the southern educated writer or musician, encapsulated neatly I think in the calm appreciative hum of the chorus as the camera lingers upon the pretty delicate featured miner I mentioned earlier. The miner’s being somewhat ‘girlish’ lets the tone slip momentarily from macho rhythms accompanying the labour, to a visual moment which perhaps, due it not instilling a feeling of inferiority or need to match a manly aesthetic, reveals a moment of pure desire and appreciation of form without that duality of appreciation/ inferiority.

Again the subject is framed in a state of transition, not only set as ruined and decaying in the framing of dirt and chopped body parts but in moments also re gendered to suit the gaze. This kind of ruination feels slightly sordid as explicated by Marsha Bryant in her reading of the womens’ chorus as third party in a ménage a trios where it is only the males who form “The two active members of an erotic triangle”[15].The woman is passive and not present as I explored earlier“ in the case of Auden’s lyrics for the coal face chorus woman figures only as a voice through which a male observer expresses homoerotic desire for a coal miner”[16]. Bryant is suggesting that the male is just masquerading as the woman in order to express his desire, under the guise of the welcoming wife as the miner emerges from the shaft. This “ventriloquism as drag performance” as she puts it emphasises the duality of the observers’ position, at moments in open admiration then in veiled desire. The introduction of a performative element leads to thoughts of the coal mine as stage ( one in which to act out fantasy and experimentation- the writings of Auden, Lawrence, Orwell etc)and for me  a juncture through which to re introduce and explore the particular ruination of the subject in Almond’s ‘Schachta’.

The dirt and lighting in coal face echoing early erotic photography can to some extent be read as body paint, as paint and Vaseline were used to enhance muscle and tone in the Victorian portraits, the lighting sets off the dirt in a similar way. Alongside the silencing of the worker, as earlier explored the danger is that the miner will just be read as performer.   In the same way that Munby’s street performers provide evidence of desires for the exotic as they ‘black themselves up’ so as to look like slaves[17]we are prompted to think that the miners are a species apart from the documentary makers, marked by their blackness.

Munby has this performance acted out in detail throughout his life as his wife/servant Hannah indulges his tastes and dirties herself for him. “I got up and put my dirty things on...then rubb’d me black hand across my face and arms and when id go down massa said he hoped to see me blacker still ...I Black’d both me hands and wiped them over me face and that pleased Massa and he said I was blacker even than any of the pit wenches”[18]. It is clear that the degradation of the skin with coal filth is a more complicated ornamentation with scales of deferentiality referencing colonialisation and the slave trade (implications of which are so far reaching in this relationship it would be impossible to do justice to here) The implications in Hannah calling her husband ‘Massa’ speak for themselves.

What this does do is reveal the pivot from which the desire for coal filth swings and opens up a space of implicated masquerade, the stage of coal mine populated with working men, renderedexotic and ‘other’ through their being coated in an anathematised substance.

Here I can move back into the stage as framed by Almond in ‘Schacta’. I would argue that the miner in this film is also subject to a kind of decrepitude, although we cannot see the detail of coal filth or sweat as they wash and undress, the miners details are open to us in different ways, their gestures dragged out by the film’s slow speed.

The miners are rendered non threatening and open to our lingering gaze, their slowed movements allowing us to scrutinise them for longer-from afar. Movements become pensive and pretty and made aesthetically palatable in the same vein as the ‘antiqued’ bodies in the photographs mentioned. The men are falling in slow gesture on one screen and in constant descent in another. The worker is in permanent state of ‘going down’ on the viewer, he is positioned as benign, flaccid.[19]

The falling degradation of the gesture in the slowed down footage forms a kind of decay in movement, the aesthetic of falling...trailing off... the same aesthetic of slipping into a corner nearly out of frame can be noted in the ‘decrepitude’ present in certain ‘industrial sublime’ paintings[20]. The delegation of a mine shaft to a low corner, the falling away of the bricks of the mill on the horizon, the trailing of ivy across a new bridge to create ‘aged’ affect. This antiquing suggesting that the industrial architecture had already reached some king of conclusion through simulated decay, still holding suggestion of danger, but manageable. The miners in ‘Schachta’ are reduced to a series of slow gestural flows, exacerbated by the left screens constant descent into the shaft, falling literally and in the minutiae of the gesture, a hand reaching for an item of clothing, a bending back.

The ornament of dirt as viewed on sections of the miners body can also be read through Klingender’s discourse around industrial decrepitude. Otherwise ‘picturesque’ landscapes with aged or decayed pieces of industrial architecture, usually in a corner or off centre. These are always sites of ambivalence and juxtaposition. An excitement in wanting to depict the horrors of industrial filth whilst at the same time to beautify and control in a classical sense. This ambivalence is clearly present in the framing of filth on the miners’ body in coal face. Spinal undulations mirrored by scabs and dark patches framed in one way as ornament and in another revealing a fascination with the marks as ‘chasms’( as the gaping black mines in the paintings)marks which suggest danger and damage. An uncomfortable space which can nevertheless be moved away from, back into the pleasing muscular flesh of a tensed shoulder or into the rolling hills of a painted scene.

These juxtaposed spaces create differing registers of arousal, the perverse legislated by its surroundings (the historically understood aesthetic). So it appears again there is a kind of masking in operation, formed through the possibility of the gaze wandering from one texture to another. To be stimulated almost sadistically by a scab, a scar and then to have the view shifted through editorial decision to a smooth fleshy space where erotic desire can once again be conventionally understood. Excitement exists in this tension, in this brief revelation and quick re-masking of a site of filth or damage. This ambivalence can be read as symbiotic in a wider sense of the masking and unveiling of the homoerotic desires of the filmmakers in coal face( and Almond’s reference to this)In tension with the other drive to create class conscious agenda driven documentaries.

It is the space surrounding the sites of dirt and danger which create the tone of ambivalence, the anticipation in being able to move in varying directions. It is interesting to me that this juxtaposition, this positioning of industry or dirt as detail surrounded by contrasting texture is not present in the paintings of Edwin Butler Baylis, one of the main reasons he has interested me in relation to the presentation of degradation in these films. For Baylis, filth becomes homogenised with technique in a blanket fashion, whole canvasses filled with industrial filth with no way out or possibility for other textural tones. This blanket subject is followed through in his obsessive depiction of the coal marred landscape throughout his life. The veneer of coal related dirt is all pervading in his paintings, chronologically and in their individual detail.

Towards a conclusion I want to draw contrasts between the eroticised gaze in ‘Coal Face’ revealing an obsessive depiction of filth, the decrepitude of the miners in ‘Schacta’ and the representation of the sullied landscapes of Edwin Butler Baylis. Shifting and overlaying the bodily landscape, flesh, flecked with coal dust and sweat, to the topological landscape overhead.

The aesthetic of filth in Industry for Baylis perhaps represented that dark secret space that the north represented for, Lawrence, Orwell and Auden. A Space where middle class man’s desire can live, unthwarted. With Baylis the desire is far more complicated, his interest is non sexual as far as we can see. It is possible to surmise that he obsessively painted filthy landscapes out of some kind of social duty attributed to a middle class man of his position, yet it is strange that he seemed content not to publicise himself under any banner of industrial reform. They remain, it seems to me, a body of work, product of one man’s obsession with the industrial filth surrounding him. This obsession although with different symptoms, has a similar pitch to the claptomaniachal  depictions of filthy miners and the records of Arthur Munby.

As I have been suggesting throughout, these visual obsessions undercut, in some sense-political engagement due to the often covert nature of desire. Through Baylis, his drive for creating his body of work we can see a kind of confusion on the part of the subject.  The non resolution of a desire goes some way to redeeming itself. It is again the ambivalence in the gaze and reasoning of pleasure which creates the dynamic of excitement. The re-reading of ‘Coal Face’ and ‘Schacta’ armed with knowledge of this erotic pivot (and retrospectively intentionality on the part of the maker) leads first to an entering into the systems of aesthetic coding. Then stepping back from and appreciating the detail for the sake of itself.

In this way we can momentarily de-couple the codes from political intent and view them as self propagating private systems which exist as parallel. This kind of repeated act of looking works itself into a kind of frenzy which propels political and social intentionality in an interesting way. (The ornament of dirt drawing attention to fragile body and issues of industrial injury- The homoerotic gaze highlighting the mines potential as androgynous space and the politics of the woman worker etc). A temporary split from political setting leads to a re-reading of visual material as sexually political in increasingly relevant ways: Compounded by a confusion or ambivalence. Sexual titillation linking to intellectual stimulation and a real drive for document ( Munby).

A lack of understanding of what it is that excites, a scar, a muscle, social commentary. The act of looking, intently searching for that unknown site of stimulation, then, in not knowing what to do with it becoming a collector of symbols, gestures, a blackened hand, muddy thigh, a delicately bruised back bone...





[1] 2001 Two channel video installation, 50 minute loop, local shaman performing ritual chant. Dimensions variable: Ideally 640 by 910 cm.

[2]  1935 Black and white, 11.34 minutes. Producer John Grierson, Director Alberto Cavalcanti, Soundtrack W H Auden , Score Benjamin Britain.


[3] Page 160 ‘Index’ Darren Almond. Parasol Unit/Koenig books. London 2008.

[4] Page 160 ‘Index’ Darren Almond. Parasol Unit/Koenig books. London 2008.          


[5] Line 7 page 120 ‘W H Auden and the Homoerotics of the 1930’s Documentary from ‘Caverns of Night, coal Mines in Art Literature and Film, Edited by William B Thesing. University of South Carolina Press, 2000.

[6] Paragraph 1 page 16 ‘The Homoerotic Photograph: Male Images from Durier/Delecoix to Maplethorpe’ Ellenzweig, Allen . Columbia University Press, 1992.

[7] Paragraph 1 page 15‘The Homoerotic Photograph: Male Images from Drier/Delacroix to Mapplethorpe’ Ellenzweig, Allen . Columbia University Press, 1992.


[8] Line 29 page 99 ‘Munby: Man of two Worlds. The Life and Diaries of Arthur J Munby,1828-1910’ Hudson, Derek. John Murray Press, 1972.

[9] Paragraph 3 page 143‘Munby: Man of two Worlds. The Life and Diaries of Arthur J Munby, 1828-1910’ Hudson, Derek. John Murray Press, 1972.


[10] Line 29 page 115 Munby: Man of two Worlds. The Life and Diaries of Arthur J Munby, 1828-1910’ Hudson, Derek. John Murray Press, 1972.


[11] Paragraph 2 page 118 Munby: Man of two Worlds. The Life and Diaries of Arthur J Munby, 1828-1910’ Hudson, Derek. John Murray Press, 1972.


[12] Page 139 Noseless Lady, Munby: Man of two Worlds. The Life and Diaries of Arthur J Munby, 1828-1910’ Hudson, Derek. John Murray Press, 1972.



[13] Line 22 page 117 Munby: Man of two Worlds. The Life and Diaries of Arthur J Munby, 1828-1910’ Hudson, Derek. John Murray Press, 1972.



[14] Line 32 Page 97 Munby: Man of two Worlds. The Life and Diaries of Arthur J Munby, 1828-1910’ Hudson, Derek. John Murray Press, 1972.



[15] Line 39 page 119 W H Auden and the Homoerotics of the 1930’s Documentary from ‘Caverns of Night, coal Mines in Art Literature and Film, Edited by William B Thesing. University of South Carolina Press, 2000.


[16] Line 4 Page 120 W H Auden and the Homoerotics of the 1930’s Documentary from ‘Caverns of Night, coal Mines in Art Literature and Film, Edited by William B Thesing. University of South Carolina Press, 2000.


[17] Page 157 Munby: Man of two Worlds. The Life and Diaries of Arthur J Munby,1828-1910’ Hudson, Derek. John Murray Press, 1972.


[18] Lines 11-39 page 271 the Diaries of Hannah Cullwick, Victorian Maid Servant’ Stanley, Liz

[19]  Note the painting ‘Pit Head Baths’ oil on canvas 45 by 48.3 by Tom McGuinness, penis in foreground as miner slopes towards the viewer, out of frame, could almost be referencing the filmic depictions of the pit head changing rooms, note the falling decrepitude in which the miner is depicted


[20] Line 1 paragraph 1 Page 86 ‘Art and the Industrial Revolution’ Klingender, Frances, Donald. Augustus M Kelley Publishers, New York, 1968.