You could be filming in London Fields, Hackney

Cat and Mutton pub Broadway Market Dalston Lon E8 © Alex Murphy

WANT TO be in a movie? Get yourself down to London Fields later this month, join the queue and hope you get chosen. Commotion Arts, a Haggerston publicly funded  artistic collective, is seeking local people to appear in a documentary.

Commotion’s little movie wants to record the hand gestures that people use in conversation, and why; hence the working title, What I’m trying to say. Filming will take participants about two hours. Expect no pay but, hey, it’s showbiz, isn’t it? (Uhm, no. – Ed.)

You will be filmed chatting in group-led activities or speaking about a subject; such as leaving home, losing something or someone, first love, an accident, a local issue…

Commotion coyly adds: “We are really happy to hear from those whose first language is not English.” In other words, they’re hoping for applications from people from areas other than northern Europe; you know, the ones who use their hands so creatively when they talk. There, that wasn’t difficult, was it?

Rachel Attfield, creative director of Commotion Arts, told Loving Dalston: “I have been watching how hands emphasise the rhythm and punctuation of the voice, and how gestures are used as much as a response to someone else speaking as they are to support the speaker and reinforce what they are trying to say.  I have immersed myself in researching the use of hand gestures and will be interjecting into the film snippets about hands gestures, such as how they help children to learn more fully and develop their speech.

“I am also beginning to talk to some scientists who are helping me to look at how hand gestures can be categorised into helping the speaker to access words, describe, communicate through signals and to express emotion.” These investigations could lead to future projects on the topic.

Tailor at 374 Kingsland Road, Dalston London, E8 4AA © Alex Murphy
Top and above: ideas come to hand in Dalston © Alex Murphy

Attfield said she has long been fascinated by gesticulation. A dancer, she uses hands a lot when talking. She added: “This project has given me the opportunity to watch the hand gestures that others use more closely and to see how expressive the hands can be.

“As I understand it the research of hand gestures is still at an early stage.  I am keen to use this project to begin to explore the reasons hand gestures are so important to our verbal communication – it is something we do all often without even noticing.”

The film will be screened around Hackney as part of the Big Dance festival in July, the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad London 2012. Commotion Arts wants to show the film continually, more as part of an exhibition than on a large screenand is talking to venues where this might be possible as well as aome cafés that have film nights.

* Hackney residents aged from eight upwards willing to speak on film should contact and be available on Sun 13 May 2012 at Studio Time Ltd Studio, 10 Martello Street, London E8 3PE. Under-16s will have to be accompanied by an adult. The film will be edited to about five minutes long. Incidentally, anyone recognise the head-scratcher, above? Clue: it’s sew easy. 


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