Providing us with this week’s literary illuminations for our new Bookshelf regular is David Wilson, master music video maker and all round lovely guy. Ranging from spiritual body balance to directing actors, they are some seriously eclectic references to be found in his top books…
Directing Actors, Creating Memorable Performances for Film and Television Judith Weston
Some of the most useful tips for working with actors has come from this book. The handbook deliberately doesn’t give you quick fixes, but instead makes you understand the organic process of working with actors as a director. One of the most useful chapters focuses on how to prepare and how to phrase terms in order to avoid “result” direction. Essentially directing is not really a process you can learn from a “how to” book, but giving this publication a good read through sure does help!
Art, A Sex Book John Water and Bruce Hainley
I’m a big fan of John Waters; actually more as a personality than a director. This book houses a wonderful collection of contemporary artworks that Waters and art critic and curator, Bruce Hainley feel interpret the theme of sex, whether that be directly or through a context that’s more personal to the authors. a printed conversation between Waters and Hainley runs in tandem to the images in the book, darting between humour and seriousness in a really captivating, open way. It also gave me one of my favourite John Waters’ quotes… “cleaners are the enemy of Fine Art”.
Tomorrow’s World Raymond Baxter and James Burke
This was a book I found sitting in my grandfather’s house a few years ago when I visited for Christmas. The book itself has one of the most extraordinary book covers I’ve ever seen. It was created using a peripheral camera to take portraits of the presenters of the BBC show – Raymond Baxter and James Burke, to create these flattened 360º views of the subject’s heads.
The whole book is a brilliant, historical documentation of a moment in time; displaying the ambitious predictions for science and technology from Britain emerging in a rapidly expanding electronic age in the late 60s.The final essay at the end of the book “Britain: The Day After Tomorrow” which predicts how society will live and work in 2120 is an especially chilling piece. Amongst other things, the research that went into the text predicts a need for the UK population to be subtly tranquillised via their water supply to keep the mass population calm and content with the over crowded, over polluted world in which they inhabit, living in tower blocks 1400 feet high.
Specialten Magazine – Issues 7-22
I’ve collected every issue of Specialten since it became a DVD magazine (Issue 7) back in 2005. It was one of my main sources of inspiration as a student in Brighton, and was a window to a world of video art, motion graphics and music videos via a 120 minute DVD at the extremely affordable price of £5 per issue. The earlier issues (in my opinion issues 7-13) were especially fantastic, and, being before the days of Vimeo and Youtube being used to their full potential, was one of the most accessible ways to see some truly extraordinary work. I still re-watch the DVDs now, and with every issue coming with a limited edition print by the likes of Jamie Hewlett, Daniel Johnston, Terry Gilliam, and Woof Wan-Bau, the printed accompaniment was equally juicy!
My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down David Heatley
I was fortunate enough to meet David Heatley in New York back in 2006. After hearing him talk about his work, I tracked down the nearest comic store and purchased Issue No.2 of his Deadpan comic (which makes up Chapter 1 of “My Brain is Hanging Upside Down”). The comic was a catalogue of David’s sexual history. Delving into places where most people wouldn’t mention, it really brought home the personal therapy that creating artwork can bring, and, combined with the rest of “My Brain Is…” you get a real journey of one man making sense of the world and the people around him.
Sacred Mirrors, The Visionary Art of Alex Grey Alex Grey
I picked this extraordinary book up in a local second hand bookshop in Somerset when I was 16, and it made a real impression on me at that age. Grey’s jaw-dropping paintings of medically accurate anatomy combined with graphical explanations of the spiritual balance of the human body are truly mesmerising, but also reading about Grey’s practice and journey as a painter and performance artist in the accompanying text is massively inspiring.