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Video-pool: Emma Hedditch
Using a Portable Video Camera

I started using a video camera in 1992, initially making experiments whilst at art school, usually alone, performing for the camera, rather self-consciously aware of producing and image. I recorded some of these ideas, and also experimented with a live feed from one room to another via a cable. Around the same time I met a woman who was making a video documentary about all women punk bands who were playing at that time in the UK. I joined the project and travelled around with her camera, shooting shaky footage at gigs, and attempted more intimate portraits with audience members. I started working voluntarily for Cinenova a women’s film and video distributor in London, in 1994 after finishing at art school. Through this series of exchanges, I found out about ‘Joanie 4 Jackie’ a video chain-letter project initiated by Miranda July, in which women would send their videos to Miranda and in return receive a videotape with 10 or so other videos on. I joined Miranda’s project and with her started a version in Europe called ‘and I will do’. The videos that I am showing here are indirectly the product of this activity, although I have not included any of the above work.

The work I have included is made from the point at which I stopped being behind the camera myself, and asked others if they wanted to use my camera.

I am curious about video production, which is tied to an impulse to document that which is inextricable from the performance itself, the performance behind and in front of the camera, as well as distributing the tape, something that is so consciously a means to communicate something to a viewer, that the person or persons making it need to find a way to do it no matter what. That urge, often induced by the possibility of having access to a camera and the means of transmission whether it be via tape, cable or more recently the internet, which transcends geography, but also the limits of corporate media and institutionalised art practices.

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Lambeth Women's Project/Emma Hedditch/
Staying Alive: Lambeth Women's Project, London, 2:29, 1982–, UK (English)

The Lambeth women's project has a collection of videotapes that I have been watching and digitising on my visits to the centre. The tapes contain a selection of programmes taped from the television, educational videotapes and video workshops and documentation of activities at the Lambeth women's project.

Lambeth Women's project, was established in 1981, initially it was for Young Women, more recently it has become a centre for women of all ages. The centre provides a safe place for women to meet and socialise, no men are allowed only boys up until the age of 8 years. The building has three floors and includes computer equipment, arts, craft and maintenance materials, a kitchen, administration offices, crèche and a lounge with television and music equipment. Lambeth Council owns the building, but does not charge any rent, and provides some maintenance work. Several groups use the centre on a regular basis, including: Stockwell Portuguese Women's Group, Eritrean Community Club and permanently renting one office is a group for French-speaking African Women. Until December 2000 there was one paid worker for one day a week, now everybody is a volunteer. Decisions are made by a Management Committee, who meet each month and are ultimately responsible for dealing with all of the finances regarding the Centre.

The Project was one of many, born out of initiatives established by the Women's Committee of Lambeth Council. At that time supported by the Greater London Council (GLC), which came under Labour's control in 1981, led by Ken Livingstone . The Women's Committee of the GLC emerged later in 1982, its purpose to provide political and financial support to women's organisations and issues. It drew on the political experience of the community struggles, which had developed since the 1970's, and aimed to unify and co-ordinate the knowledge, which existed already among women from those communities. Over 70 Women worked for the Women's Committee Support Unit at the GLC, the unit issued grants to women's groups and organisations throughout London. Grant’s were available for projects including women's centres, infant day-care, safe transportation and health campaigns. It was involved in the promotion of equality for all women, including black and ethnic minorities, lesbians, women with disabilities, older women and girls. It was an information and campaigning resource, and it worked with other GLC committees and departments such as housing, transport, planning, arts and recreation, employment, to ensure that women's needs were recognised in all aspects of the council’s work.

The GLC was abolished in 1985, although many local councils, were still run by Labour, the Conservative government was less supportive towards Women’s issues. In 1997 Lambeth Council withdrew almost all funding for the Lambeth Women's Project, and its support workers. Women's Network took over the running of the building on a voluntary basis. After three years, one worker was paid for a contract of 6 months for one day a week. In July of 2000, it was announced that the building would have to close, due to a lack of funds and support from the local community. Meanwhile, 16 million pounds had been granted to the Stockwell Regeneration committee to improve facilities, infrastructure and establish initiatives for young people and the unemployed in the area.

/Emma Hedditch/
A Pattern: A portable video camera, 11:56, 2001–, UK/USA/Germany/Sweden (English/German)

A Pattern, is a project I started in 2001. It involves the production of a list of actions, which the viewer of that list is invited to record on video using a video camera. The list is circulated on a poster or via e-mail, by myself or by another person or institution that I am working with. Below are some examples of the actions I have included on the lists.

Video a woman at her home
Video the same woman at her place of work
Video a person working at a computer
Video a person helping another person to carry something
Video a person that works in a radical bookshop, talking about how the shop is organised and its history
Video a person decorating their private space
Video a place in the city where people meet
Video a group of people or single person trying to promote a particular event, issue or service
Video a person that you think is different from you, describing what they think is different about you
Video somebody you know trying to deal with government bureaucracy
Video a person reading the last letter somebody sent to him or her
Video part of a film where a woman is giving a monologue
Video part of the local news that you relate to or has some direct impact on your life

In addition to the list, the poster or e-mail gives further instructions as to what to do with the tape that the viewer has recorded onto once they have recorded onto it. I have worked with this project in a number of settings each of which has resulted in different methods to enable this exchange. The first being a queer, squatted social centre, Dumba, in Brooklyn, New York. I was invited to participate in a screening, the organiser of the screening printed out a poster that I sent to him and he posted it around New York City. Viewers of the poster were asked to drop off their videotapes at Kim’s Video St Marks place. At the screening we showed the recorded videotapes. None of the persons who made a recording came to the screening. At Panora in Malmo, I worked with a local artist-run video editing facility called Fast Video for one week. Panora is a cinema but also a social centre for a number of community groups. Posters were printed and posted in the city, and an e-mail was sent out through the Fast Video network. The persons who recorded videotapes were invited to drop the tapes at Fast Video. The screening took place at Panora and the audience was predominantly those who had made videotapes and their families and friends.

I started working with a video camera in the early 1990’s but experienced problems in the position of being behind the camera, I wanted to work with the camera, as something that could be passed among persons, much like a microphone, placing the possibility for documentation or amplification of different positions. Simultaneously I have been interested in the cinema as a social space and wanted to acknowledge the potential relations with a viewer in the present as productive, and to use the possibility of a public screening as a site for this potential exchange.
The primary function of the project is to make visible an exchange between persons that is produced by ourselves, and which we can experience in a situation as close to our intentions as possible, by defining a method which responds to our sensibilities and trying it out.

/Emma Hedditch/
Video Home: Come On, 1:10, 2004, UK (No sound)

Have you ever made a video of a local event, community group, your friends, travel/ holidays, family, sports, music activity, loved ones, demonstrations or speeches? It could be something joyful, sad, funny or informative, but it should be something you have made because it felt important to record that part of life.

How about we try to bring a lot of parts of those videos together. Things that people have made in this neighbourhood. Then we could build an archive of video footage that shows clips from all of these events. Why? because these are some of the extraordinary actions that shape our lives and sense of community and ourselves.

We will get things started, by organising a way to make a copy of parts of these videos, at the Electric studios over the two days of the 'Set It Off: A Takeover' weekend. But we want to include your recordings, from your tapes. Could you bring your tape and we would copy part of it, and then give it back to you? Then the clips will be included in a big collection of video clips.

When we have edited everything together, we can show you all the other clips. You are also invited to work on the editing. You can bring your tape to the Electric studios or mail it there, or contact me by e-mail emma[at], or we can meet, or to know more about the project, you can visit the website The tapes should be either Mini-DV, VHS, Video-8 or Hi-8 format.

Try to find the clips that you think would be good to include, and that you are comfortable about sharing.

/Emma Hedditch/
Queer Cymru: Video workshop, 1:10, nd, UK (English)

During one week at the Queer Cymru festival in Cardiff, I was invited to make a video workshop with a group of persons. The festival is open to persons of all genders and sexualities, and is based at Chapter Arts Centre. I try to work with a video camera as a tool for exploring possibilities of collaboration and exchange, a means to represent oneself and others and view those representations together and if desired to another public. I also try to work with some of the effects of viewing yourself on video and being behind the camera in terms of creating a feeling and broader understanding of how images are constructed, framed and manipulated. With this in mind I tried to work with a fluctuating group of roughly 8- 10 persons throughout one week. Each person decided on something they wanted to document, and depending on what it was, worked with the other persons in the group to realise their idea. Following several days of intensive recording the group edited their work, according to their desires and screened all parts of the video to a broader public.

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