Tacita Dean: Save This Language
Artist Tacita Dean visits Unesco in Paris to ask for support in her mission to save photochemical film, for its intrinsic poetry and powerful ability to transmit emotion.
Leading British artist, Tacita Dean takes listeners with her on a mission to save a language. Not the kind that is spoken in a remote community, but an artistic one - photochemical film. She travels to UNESCO in Paris, to the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage, to persuade the world's heritage keepers to act fast or lose what she considers the most important form of artistic expression of the 20th century.
As photochemical film heads for extinction, superceded by digital technologies, Tacita makes a compelling case for why we should do all we can to keep it alive.
"What I love most about film is the spontaneity and the blindness. When I made FILM for Tate Modern's Turbine Hall, everything was filmed inside the camera - different shapes, objects and architecture were effectively stencilled with light onto the emulsion, which was put through the camera multiple times. I couldn't see what I was doing so when I saw the results it was full of both miracle and disappointment. Some things far exceeded what I could have done deliberately, and that is the point - digital is too deliberate a medium for me, too intended. It's like working with the lights on the whole time and I am someone who craves the darkness too, and by that I mean I solicit the chance and the accident.
"This is one of many unintended losses that has happened with the transition from film to digital, but it is what I love the most in film and cinema - the in-between things, the things we don't imagine that just happen."
With film makers and artists including Ken Loach, John Smith, Ben Rivers, Iain Softley, Robbie Ryan and Guillermo Navarro.
Producer: Kate Bland
A Cast Iron production for BBC Radio 4.