Director: Daren Bartlett
Producer: Abigail Clarke
Filmmaker Daren Bartlett was commissioned by NIKE to make a 16mm short film to show in the 1948 Run Dem Crew space in Bateman’s Row to celebrate the refurbishment of the space where Charlie Dark and his crew meet up to run London’s streets.
Originally from the East End and having spent most of his life there, Daren was inspired by the elements of the past that still remain in London’s East End and chose to use images of these cobbled streets and Victorian alleyways in this piece.
The film was also a look to the future and the 2012 Games, and how the Games may have affected the area.
Kinetic is a Bantam Films production featuring an original score by David Kennedy and words by Daren Bartlett.
Kinetic - Director’s Statement
Old East London: a unique area in the sense that you only have to look around you and you will see history - in the buildings, street names and the cobbled streets.
I am from the East End, and have seen the changes of recent times. The arrival of the Olympic games in 2012 will surely change the area way beyond what we
have seen in recent years. I believe London’s underbelly to be of great interest, particularly the occupations of the people - I don't mean regular modern jobs with definitive titles, but the trades with which people have survived the mean streets of the East End - ladies of the night, beggars, tricksters, and out and out thieves, all still exist here.
I hear people exclaim their disapproval at the apparent lack of control over these activities, but these ARE the People, these people we pass by with little concern, are part of a long tradition, a base level of street activity, born of circumstance , of course, their individual stories would read more diversely, but overall I see an Old London through these people.
Batemans Row EC2 once lead onto the site of the Old Nichol, London’s most notorious slum, which was filthy and violent. Allthe remnants of this place are gone now, knocked down to make way for London’s first social housing project built at the turn of the century (Arnold circus), and even now as you pass through this area at night it seems to give off a strange atmosphere. The place is gone but people remain, fulfilling their part as London’s living underbelly. They are historical by tradition, but not recognized as anything more than a problem. They are in fact the true essence of what East London is.
Rats are everywhere. It is said that you are never further than 15 feet from a rat in the East End. Perhaps the rat is a good metaphor for Old London, they represent an old line, a subterranean book mark passing through the pages of time....
So I approached the project trying to capture some of these elements, wherever permissible - the thoughts of a runner, the insular nonsense that runs through your mind as you run, the curious things you notice.
The way our streets are lit also seemed like a interesting detail to explore, passing light over our subject, creates interesting forms, once again looking at details, and then we have the rhythm of running which is a natural consequence of motion. Hence the title, Kinetic - 'of motion’ - so we have motion of the runner, passing through the East End, which itself is subject to change/motion, dictated by the rhythm of development.
Our runner is passing along history, noticing the past, with an eye on the future. I decided that our runner’s thoughts are best expressed in a poem, especially using a medieval poetic structure, and the rhythms that that dictates would work well, although having spent many days toiling to construct a credible poem I now understand why madness and poetry are often mentioned together.
So in brief, we get a runner’s eye view of Londons historic East End, by focusing and holding a few thoughts through repetition of word.
The dimness of the cobbled streets, bathed occasionally in modern sodium lighting, offer a view of a runner, from strange angles.
He passes through the underbelly of the EAST, in winter, with its stark realities, but we have hope for our runner, as he passes through the NIGHT / TIME, to an uncertain, but ultimately optimistic future.
A runner moves Kinetic.
Daren Bartlett, 2009.