Life Drawing: An evening with US film-maker Jem Cohen


Doors 7:45pm


A benefit event for the Horse Hospital Fundraising Campaign

One of contemporary cinema’s finest film essayists, New York-based Jem Cohen has been making work for more than three decades. The pre-eminent street- and diary-film maker of his generation, he is also a crucial collaborator with musicians, having worked for many years with the cream of North America’s alt-music community, among them Fugazi, Benjamin Smoke, Patti Smith, Vic Chesnutt, Elliott Smith, Tom Verlaine, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Terry Riley, Sparklehorse, and R E M

His most recent feature, the Vienna-set Museum Hours, was released to great acclaim in 2013.

Deeply committed politically, a strong advocate of 16mm, and genuinely independent in work, life and the relationship to financial structures, Cohen is in London for one night only and we’re delighted he can attend, showing works he has chosen specially for the event. He will be in conversation with Gareth Evans, Film Curator, Whitechapel Gallery.

With thanks to Carroll Fletcher Gallery for their support (

Programme (final running order tbc):

NYC Weights and Measures / 6 mins / 2006 My film is a simple gathering of New York City street footage.  It was shot with a spring-wound 16mm Bolex on, above, and below the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn and includes footage of the ticker tape parade for astronaut John Glenn.

Gravity Hill / Occupy Wall St. Newsreels (a selection from the series) / c20 mins / 2011

The Passage Clock / 10 mins / 2007

In collaboration with Patti Smith, and ostensibly in homage to Walter Benjamin but semi-secretly also in homage to Chris Marker...

Real Birds / 11 mins / 2012

A neighbourhood portrait with oblique connections to 9/11 politics

Story and Music / 6 mins / 2014

A new piece, very minimal, to encourage thinking about the barest bones that might suggest filmic narrative

Currently untitled… 7 mins / 2014

A work-in-progress that includes material from Cohen’s previous trip to London and then Moscow

Currently untitled… 7 mins / 2014

A live performance document of the musical duo Cohen is currently collaborating with:

Jim White (drums) and George Xylouris (lute)

Little Flags / 6 mins / 2000

Cohen shot Little Flags in black and white on the streets of lower Manhattan during an early ’90s military ticker-tape parade and edited the footage years later. The crowd noises fade and Cohen shows the litter flooding the streets as the urban location looks progressively more ghostly and distant from the present.