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Published 21/03/2014 email E-MAIL print PRINT

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Alex Warren and Tobias Ross-Southall, directors of Eleanor: interview

The Cob Gallery, London
28 February – 30 March 2014

by MK PALOMAR

In 2010, when Studio International first went to Studio 205 in Camden,1 it was a shopfront and a large airy warehouse. Now, it is the Cob Gallery, a smartly tailored space hosting some remarkable exhibitions and enterprises, including Cobble Together for the Arts, “a new charity aimed at tackling inequality both in the arts and through the arts, by providing education, employment and community projects for young people in London”.2

Founded by Cob Gallery director Victoria Williams, writer Polly Stenham and charity community worker Penelope East, Cobble Together invites locally based students to respond to exhibition works by making their own pieces of work.

The current exhibition, Eleanor, a cinematic installation employing a rich combination of creative ingredients, text, film, dance and music, is a potent package with which to launch this creative enterprise.

An extraordinary collaborative enterprise (displayed at the Cob Gallery Camden as a three-screen installation), Eleanor is conceived and co-directed by actor/director Alex Warren and film-maker/director Tobias Ross-Southall. Not least in their achievement with this Creative England, BFI and IdeasTap-supported project is the fact that they have gathered together such a remarkable group of creative makers and shakers to contribute to this visionary work, inspired by the poems of WH Auden, Robert Frost and Leonard Cohen.

The writers, musicians, dancer and actress – award winners all – have worked with exemplary “lightness of touch”, the term Warren uses to described Rebecca Luff’s editing skills through the complicated three-screen display. And while Luff’s deft hand – sometimes merging a wide panorama, others times weaving one location into another – never once jolts us out of the dream, neither does actress Ruth Wilson, in her portrayal of three different characters. Perhaps these three – different yet one and the same – represent the various sides of ourselves, the alternative lives we might choose to tread, or the circumstances we might be dealt by fate. This sumptuous haunting of place and possible narrative leads us all to wonder, not only on the stories portrayed in the film, but also at our own lives and the places we choose to be. This film will replay in your dreams.

References
1. See: Something’s Happening in Camden Town. MK Palomar’s review of Beneath The Surface. Toby Ross-Southall and Giorgio Bruni.
2. From The Cob Gallery’s press release for Eleanor, detailing its newly launched charity Cobble Together for the Arts.



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