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Current Past




Emily Richardson, ‘Spender House’

Big Screen Southend is pleased to present a film by Emily Richardson which takes as its focus The Spender House, a 1960s steel-framed house designed by Richard and Su Rogers located in Ulting, Essex. ‘Spender House’ by Emily Richardson will be screened from 10th to the 25th November 2018 on Big Screen Southend, just outside of Focal Point Gallery.

About the film:

Spender House, 2018
Emily Richardson, 15 minutes

The Spender House, Essex was designed in 1968 by Richard and Su Rogers (Team 4) for photographer and artist Humphrey Spender. It was a prototype and precursor to the iconic house, Parkside, designed for Rogers’ parents the following year, making it the first example of hi-tech domestic architecture in the UK.

Spender died in 2005 but his spirit is still very present in the house and studio. The film explores the unique architectural qualities of the house and studio and provides a glimpse of its former inhabitants life and work as a painter, textile designer and photographer of British life in the 1930s for Mass Observation.

Spender House is a temporal exploration of place, an exploded portrait of architecture and inhabitant aided by the use of archival sound recording of interviews made with Spender for the British Library.

Connections are made between the place and the person, the place and the archive. There are many rich narratives contained here. To represent the architecture, its interior, the studio and its contents, its position in the landscape and its inhabitants demonstrates the significance of the place.

Special thanks to the Humphrey Spender Archive and Rachel Spender.

Made with an Arts and Humanities Research Council Grant, Royal College of Art.

About the filmmaker:

Emily Richardson is a filmmaker whose work explores our relationship to our physical environment and the role image making technologies play in defining, changing and shaping it. Her films are encounters with a diverse range of landscapes and sites in transition ranging from empty East End London streets, forests, North Sea oil fields, post-war tower blocks, empty cinemas and Cold War military facilities. She has recently completed a practice-led PhD at the Royal College of Art researching the translation of architectural space to filmic space through a trilogy of films about British architects prototype houses of the 1960s. Her films have been shown in galleries, museums and festivals internationally and are distributed by Lux, London and Lightcone, Paris.

Focal Point Gallery, Elmer Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, United Kingdom
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Radical Essex is a project re-examining the county in relation to radicalism in thought, lifestyle, politics and architecture. A programme of events will take place across Essex throughout 2016 and 2017, shedding light on the vibrant, pioneering thinking of the late 19th and 20th centuries. The project will celebrate the crucial role Essex has played in the history of British Modernism and its utopian ideologies under the themes ‘The Modernist County’ and ‘Arcadia for All’.

The Radical Essex site is designed by Fraser Muggeridge studio and Alex Rich, developed by Twelve.

Radical Essex is led by Focal Point Gallery in collaboration with Visit Essex and Firstsite. Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England it forms part of the country wide Cultural Destinations programme, a partnership with VisitEngland, supporting arts organisations to work with the tourism sector to deliver projects that maximise the impact culture has on local economies.

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If you are a business or arts organisation interested to be involved in the project or learn more information, please contact us here

We gratefully acknowledge the support of our project partners: