Frank Abbott is an artist filmmaker producing projection work. He recently retired from a teaching position leading the Fine Art, Creative Collaborations and Film Practice Masters courses at Nottingham Trent University School of Art and Design. In the 1980s he ran a company making independent films for cinema and television as a writer/director for the early Channel 4. He helped establish a production base at the New Cinema Workshop in the Midland Group Gallery, Nottingham. With the arrival of portable video equipment he picked up his projector and started to involve himself with performance, working with collaborators like the writers Michael Eaton (Eureka) and Steven Lowe (Demon Lovers) and the musicians Jan Kopinski and Steve Iliffe (Drive Me Crazy).
Over the last 20 years his personal work has largely been in the form of performances with projection carried out in the UK, Berlin and Tokyo. Under the title Five Slides and A Song he has performed locally and internationally in collaboration with the Trampoline organization. In 2000 he worked with independent computer enthusiasts and artists to establish Screenplay, an annual event designed to intervene in the debate about computer games, which ran until 2005, when it was replaced by Nottingham GameCity.
As a teacher at Nottingham Trent University he worked with The School of Art and Design and The Broadway Media Centre Nottingham on Creative Collaborations, a European funded initiative based on collaboration between artists and institutions in the creative economy.
In 2011 he began running a series of artists workshops, including 3 weeks at the Jawahalah Kala Kendra arts centre with Indian artists in Jaipur, Rajasthan. He is currently carrying out a Visual Arts workshop with the young theatre workers of Yard Theatre Projects at the New Art Exchange, Nottingham in relation to an exhibition by Leo Asemota.
He engages with Broadway Cinema and Media Centre, Nottingham, on developing a profile for digital media work and is an artist partner with the Nottingham University Mixed Reality Lab.
Frank’s work has been a response to the impact of living through a massively transformed media environment in the course of the last 50 years. He has always been interested in understanding the way that the media has become part of the fabric of our lives through the construction of work which uses play and intervention to upset the assumptions which are embedded in the industrialization of our media experiences. He has combined the making of his own work with an activism around the development of a creative culture through discussion, education and workshops. Franks early film work, including the trilogy News and Comment, Workers Playtime and Magic Hour, were films made for television which attempted to be both innovative in form and also to reflect on the media itself. Radical political critiques of the relationship between the spectacle of the media and the increased development of consumer capitalism have always informed the direction of the work. Equally, the early experience with performance as a member of the Scratch Orchestra in London in the 1970’s alerted him to the dynamics of site specific work and collaboration between artists across different media – and was also an exercise in the important and complex relation between cultural and political practice.
The arrival of portable video and digital media became another source of intervention and from the 1990’s Frank took the opportunity to perform many short pieces of work in unusual spaces and contexts in collaboration with the Trampoline organisation. Frank has continued to produce performance work and, now that he has retired from full-time teaching, he is interested in re-examining film production in association with location, construction and media display processes.
In 2010/11 he has been presenting a series of commissioned works with the Hatch organization, concentrating on performing projections in public spaces and in June he performed Moose Memory as part of a RADAR weekend of performance. (This is not a Performance or a Lecture)
Muscle, a sculptural installation is due to open at Tracing Mobility in The House of World Cultures, Berlin in November 2011. A collaboration with the painter Duncan Higgins.