A film commission as part of an AHRC-funded team of researchers and artists who are investigating the legacy in contemporary performance of the Situationist International Group. This project is called Reviewing Spectacle.

Title: Swallet

Author: Lee Hassall

Running Time: 25-mins, 29-seconds

Colour: HD Video, with sound.

Swallet (noun British, an underground stream) – Swallet is an experimental film that drifts in its own momentum; the soundscape is constructed from wild sound recorded during filming.

Dr Steve Hanson, for Manchester Left Writers, has written that in 2018 it is no longer ‘beneath the pavement the beach’, but ‘beneath the pavement the void’ (Hanson, 2018). He makes reference to the sinkholes opening up in Manchester, under the Mancunian Way and elsewhere, as the urban landscape succumbs to drastic environmental change.

These holes mirror others, diamond mines in Russia, vampiric human cavities observable from space, the holes in space-time and the void left by the complete closure of anything that passes for radicalism outside the comfortable museum of 1960s rebellion.

In this sense it is necessary to make work that is not weighed down by the inflated baggage of the soixant huitards, but work that is symbolically open to the present we are in, which is always already one of terrifying contingency: This is how our world is ‘radical’ today.

As we look back at 1968, it is important that the commitment to avant-garde symbolic openness and radical contingency is adhered to. My film, therefore, is in this spirit, which is in fact in the spirit of Debord’s films, even if it does not look, anything like them. For how could it?

I wanted to make a film that felt its way into being, recording sensations, as opposed to making acts of structuralism. A film that had the nearness of music, an attempt to bring the elemental into being with matter, using images that drift, saturate, shift, breathe, disperse, and estrange. Creating the kinds of encounter that are shadowy withdrawn, ones that are hard to pin down.