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Before the formation of the Exploding Cinema the most active experimental/Underground film clubs in London were David Leister’s ‘Kinoclub’ formed in 1987 and Ken Macdonald’s Reel ‘Love’ which moved to the squatted Cooltan Building on Effra Road, Brixton in the summer of 1991.
Stephen Houston organises first film group meetings at the Cooltan Building.
The original Cooltan group starts screenings in the Cooltan Cafe under the name the Cinema Cafe. Group comprised : Stephen Houston, Kathy Gibbs, Duncan Reekie, Danny Holman , Jenny Marr, Anne Marie Barlow, Anthony Kopiecki, Laura Hudson, Suzanne Currid, Jennet Thomas, Lorelei Hawkins, William Thomas and Lepke B. After several months of fortnightly s hows the constitution of the groupand all the concepts, politics and style of the show was fully developed and the name EXPLODING CINEMA was adopted after endless voting and mucking about! Audience average 30-40.
SPRING TO SUMMER ‘92
The show moves to LAS CASAS, a vegetarian cafe in Clapham. Anne Marie and Laura leave the group. Donal Rouane, Andre Stitt and Katya Rossini join.
Stephen Houston leaves the group and returns to Australia.
John Carr, Andy Lowe and Tara Babel join.
Audience average 100-150.
LAS CASAS closes down and the EXPLODING begins to look for a new venue. Meanwhile the group stages a one-off show in a squatted Cafe in Southampton. Lorelei Hawkins leaves the group, Paul Tarrago joins. Booklet page from November and 17 December First Anniversary show here and here.
The EXPLODING show moves to the JUGGLERS ARMS a pub with a huge back room in the backstreets of Borough.
William leaves the group. Mick Farrelly and Colette Rouhier join. Audience average 200-250. See booklet rant from March show.
Licensing problems at the Jugglers forces the EXPLODING to leave. In August they stage the LIDO SHOW an all night extravaganza in a squatted Brixton swimming pool which attracts an audience of over 2000 ! In the wake of this success Caroline Kennedy, Robyn Conway, Silvy Da Silva, Gisli Bergman, Ros Grainger and Rob Stanley join the group. Despite TV document the event. In September the group stage a one off show in Dublin to an audience of 700.
The EXPLODING moves to the UNION TAVERN, a pub in Camberwell. Katya leaves the group and moves to Belgium. Kerry Sharp, Mark Pawson join the group. Anne Cooper and James Stevens begin intermittent involvement with the group. Kathy, Jenny and Susanne start to slowly drop out as their other committments take over. Audience average 200-250.
OCTOBER ’93 – FIRST GENERAL MEETING
Attended by Kathy Gibbs, Duncan Reekie, Danny Holman, Jenny Marr, Anthony Kopiecki, Suzanne Currid, Jennet Thomas, Caroline Kennedy, Robyn Conway, Silvy Da Silva, Gisli Bergman, Ros Grainger , Rob Stanley, Mick Farrelly, Paul Tarrago, Colette Rouhier, Donal Rouane, Andy Lowe and Mark Pawson. The meeting was called to reform the constitution, a new constitution was drawn up and adopted at a SECOND GENERAL MEETING a month later. Around this time Fiona Lord joins the group.
One off show with VISION COLLISION in Manchester. The group leaves the UNION TAVERN and rents an office in an artists studio in Camberwell. Donal Rouane leaves the group.
EXPLODING tour of Northern Germany with the FILMGRUPPE CHAOS from Kiel. One off show at the ZAP CLUB in Brighton followed by all day/ all night show at Station Chambers in Farringdon.
After internal conflict Anthony Kopiecki, Suzanne Currid, Andy Lowe, Rob Stanley and Jenny Marr leave the group. The group reforms the constitution and reconstitutes itself as the EXPLODING CINEMA COLLECTIVE members : Danny Holman, Jennet Thomas, Caroline Kennedy, Duncan Reekie, Silvy Da Silva, Gisli Bergman, Ros Grainger, Paul Tarrago, Colette Rouhier, Kerry Sharp, James Stevens and Mark Pawson.
At the end of October the reconstituted group stages two shows in the derelict St. Johns Church in Brixton. In November the group collaborates with Katya Rossini’s new Belgian group KINO TROTTER to stage KINO FLASCH FLOOD an all night extravaganza just outside Brussels.
Xmas show at the RIVOLI BALLROOM in Brockley.
The show moves to the LOUGHBOROUGH HOTEL pub in Brixton, an extensive club space with 2 bars and a stage. The show becomes monthly. Robyn leaves the group. Booklet page from 19 March show.
Danny, Mark and Mick slowly drift out of group activities. Danny subsequently moves to Prague and sets up an Underground cinema club. Sheik, Andy Smith and Andy Johnson join the group.
EXPLODING CINEMA branch opens in Brighton.
Inspired by the EXPLODING shows Philip Ilson and Tim Harding found the Halloween Society film club. Later in the year Steven Eastwood forms the Omsk film club.
One off summer show in a CIRCUS tent at a park in Catford.
Gisli Bergmanand Ros Graingerleave the group.
Rouane steals the group’s video projector.
The show moves to a disused school hall in CATHERINE GROVE, Greenwich.
The RITZY CINEMA re-opens in Brixton as a multiplex and the EXPLODING begins monthly shows with late night features. One off show at TRANSGRESSIONS experimental music festival in Farringdon. The group leaves Catherine Grove after three shows.
Ritzy shows suspended. EXPLODING teams up with KINO TROTTER for a two week tour of Belgium and Holland with one off shows in France and Luxembourg. Final show in Amsterdam to set up local branch of EXPLODING. Silvy Da Silva leaves the group.
Monthly Ritzy shows return with new format of short film with mystery feature. Booklet page. One off show at Stoke Newington squat as part of Hackney Anarchy week.
One off show at SUBTERRANIA in Portobello, West London.
One off show in the garden of the DUKE OF EDINBURGH PUB in Brixton.
The Kinoculture film club forms at the Horse Hospital in Russell Square.
Duncan Reekie, Colette Rouhier and James Stevens launch VACUUM #1 a two hour video compilation of work shown at the EXPLODING SHOWS. Thomas Zagrosek joins the group. Doco on London No Wave groups from Vacuum.
After a series of meetings with the no wave of film clubs that emerged out of the EXPLODING’S five year history, the group takes a leading part in VOLCANO (Nov 8 – 23) the first International London Underground film festival since the sixties.
Colette, Duncan and Jenet team up with Danny Holman to stage a one-off show in Prague Czech Republic. Regular shows begin at the George IV pub in Brixton in March. Stefan Szczelkun and Sandra join the group.
Spectacular one – off out door show on a factory roof in Peckham, audience around 300.
Small one -off show at the Anarchist Bookfair, Conway Hall.
Second Volcano festival. EXPLODING Volcano show in warehouse space in Fashion Street E1.
Collete, Duncan, Jenet, Paul and Thomas travel to Germany for a micro tour in Frankfurt and Cologne.
Regular shows move to a Community Centre near the Oval which is christened the Cine Shed. One off show in gothic theatre in the Wilson’s Annex of Camberwell School of Art.
Return to the factory roof in Peckham for another huge extravaganza.
Regular EXPLODING shows move to the Union Tavern, Camberwell.
One off show at BLUE, a railway arch in Brixton.
Fourth Volcano festival, this time a D.I.Y. festival. Final event is a collaboration of all the groups at 333 club in Hoxton, Shoreditch [see some Volcano pages]. Ben Slotover of the Shaolin group is invited to join EXPLODING due to his video projector wrangling prowess .
Regular shows move to the 1001 cafe in Brick Lane. Angel Daden joins the collective.
Regular shows move to the Hatcham Social Club hall in New Cross deep in South London.
Someone stops compiling the chronology for a while. Do you, dear reader, remember anything from this time at all?
Regular shows continue at the Hatcham [booklet]. EXPLODING CINEMA outlasts the London Film and Video Development Agency, launched 1992 and restructured as Film London during a shake up of the national funding structure: Arts Council forces all regional arts boards to give Arts Council all of themselves – buildings, people etc, or else. Film Council created out of Arts Council Lottery Film Dept, lumps of the BFI and some other things like British Screen. Stefan Szczelkun completes his Ph.D, Exploding Cinema 1992 – 1999, culture and democracy.
EXPLODING CINEMA 12th Anniversary celebrated with monster free show at Limehouse Town Hall, audience 300 . Regular shows at the Hatcham Social Club continue, average audience 150-200 [booklet]. Duncan Reekie completes his Ph.D on underground film, later published as Subversion: The Definitive History of Underground Cinema.
Area 10 Project Space and EXPLODING CINEMA mount the SHUNDAHAI event at Area 10, Peckham [programme, clip]. Audience 300 . Crowd drinks the bar dry by 10pm, leading to expensive but successful scrabble to resupply. Matt Lloyd, Peter Thomas and Maisoon Rehani join the collective, Thomas Zagrosek leaves. Regular shows continue at the Hatcham Social Club, average audience 150-200 [booklet].
Sophia Kosmaoglou joins the collective.
Special show at Conway Hall, and the last Time Out to include an EXPLODING blurb with listing until February 2009. Duncan Reekie and Peter Thomas participate in the ‘Cultural Consecration and its Discontents: Arts Council v. Film and Video Artists’ Organisations 1975-present’ plenary at the notorious Screen Studies Conference.
EXPLODING CINEMA return to East London for three shows at Hoxton Hall [photos, booklet 1, 2]. Thirsty audience challenge Hoxton Hall’s alchohol provision. Level 10 show at the Peckham Multi-story car park as part of the Peckham festival [booklet].
Albany Theatre show [booklet]. Maisoon Rehani leaves the collective.
Regular shows start at the Half Moon Pub, Herne Hill [photos 1, 2, 3], plus special shows at the Temporary Autonomous Art Event [photos] and the Mindsweeper benefit at Climate of Change. Amanda Egbe joins the collective. Duncan Reekie launches his book, Subversion: The Definitive History of Underground Cinema, influenced by and featuring extensive coverage of EXPLODING CINEMA. See commercial here. Even another show in Brisbane, Australia in January with the Other Film group in a large backyard [photos, clip].
EXPLODING CINEMA completely uneffected by Arts Council England’s record number of defundings, simultaneous to its record block grant from the government. Regular shows continue at the Half Moon Pub [photos], plus special show at the Collision Festival, Area 10, Peckham [photos]. Morgan Paton, Elvira Zaera Tamargo and Kieran Micallef join the collective.
Regular shows continue at the Half Moon Pub [photos, booklet]. Contemporary signs of the Apocalypse: Time Out ‘recommends‘ EXPLODING CINEMA, Reekie and Thomas invited to the Xperimenta ’09 festival by the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona to dispute the utility of consecrating film as Art, accepting state patronage for that purpose or any other, etc, and the Guardian Guide features EXPLODING. Things return to normal with another diss from Time Out. Special show in Malta hosted by Kinemastic. Special screening of the San Francisco Disposable Film Festival [photos], itself filmed, also premieres the EXPLODING CINEMA doco Five Years of Nights.
Abolition of the Film Council, re-engorgement of BFI and continuation of government biribes to ‘British Film Industry’ all announced at same time. EXPLODING again hosts the Disposable Fim Festival [photos, video 1, 2, 3, 4], shifting it to the Utrophia Project Space after the Cross Kings is forced to close. During a show at the Elefest [photos], EXPLODING is accosted by Radio 4 staff.
Regular shows move to The Others, Stoke Newington [photos, video]. Radio 4 broadcast a special on EXPLODING CINEMA. EXPLODING participates in the Pullit group 20th Anniversary show in New Cross [photo].
Regular shows continue at The Others [photos 1, 2, 3, video], plus special shows at Tapescape [photos, video], TAA [photos], the Anarchist Bookfair [photos] plus a massive show at St James ex-church in Hatcham [photos 1, 2, video 1, 2, 3]. EXPLODING CINEMA presents the Disposable Film Festival at the Cinema Museum [photos]. Adam Hodgkins joins the group. Sophia Komaoglou completes her PhD The Politics of Art on Exploding Cinema, aesthetic autonomy and institutional critique.
Regular shows move to the Canterbury Arms, Brixton [photos 1, 2, 3, video], EXPLODING CINEMA present the Disposable Film Festival at the Cinema Museum [review] and the Sheffield Doc/Fest [photos], throw a big show on the MS Stubnitz [photos, video 1, 2] despite Secret Cinema staging a flash mob outside during set up, and stage worskshop at the squatted Lansdowne community centre [instructional video 1, 2, 3]. Claudia Tomaz joins the group.
Regular shows move to the Peckham Liberal Club [photos, promo video] after the Canterbury Arms are condemned to redevelopment. Two shows at the Peckham liberal club on 14th March and 25th April. EXPLODING CINEMA launches a new zine at the DIY Cultures day at Rich Mix on 26th May [photos, video]. On 9th August Exploding held an all day and into the evening event at Cody Dock in London. Workshops in the afternoon gave way to a screening on board the dry docked River Princess in an amazing corner of Industrial Lea Valley. The year closed out with first shows in two venues that would host many more in the coming years: The annual screening of the Disposable Film Festival on September 26th at The Cinema Museum and the final show of a very busy year on 7th November at the Ivy House in Nunhead.
6th Feb: Ivy House
10th April: Ivy House
30th May: Cinema Museum
18th July: Cody Dock
7th-8th August: Supernormal festival
25th September: Cinema Museum (Disposable film fest show)
6th November: Ivy House
Exploding did this stuff in 2016
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