Graham Ellard and Stephen Johnstone have collaborated since 1993, when they made Passagen, commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella and included in the group exhibition V-topia at Tramway, Glasgow. Interested in the relationships between pre-cinematic spectacle and digital technology, cinematic spectacle and abstract film their work exists at the intersections of architecture and cinema and is preoccupied with the conventions and effects by which space is represented and produced' in the projected image.
In the installations Geneva Express (1997), Wall of Death (1999), Head Corridor (2001) and Prisma (2003) this has been extended into the ways in which that image is perceived or experienced by a mobile spectator within an immersive or constructed architectural environment - the work complicating the experience of viewing and recasting the audience as both spectator and performer.
Their work, including large scale video installations, architectural light-works, and drawing, has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout Europe, Australia and the USA, including the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Tate, Liverpool; Kiasma, Helsinki; Ikon, Birmingham, The Photographers Gallery, London, Cornerhouse, Manchester, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.
In 1997 the CD-ROM Passagen, based on the installation of the same name was published by its commissioners Film and Video Umbrella, with Ellipsis. In December 2001 Holding Pattern, a large-scale permanent lightwork for a public site in East London, received a special mention from Architectural Association of Irelands and in 2004/05 was included in OPEN: new designs for public space at The Van Alen Institute in New York, other artists and practices included were Diller+Scofidio, Zaha Hadid, Toyo Ito and Acconci Studio. OPEN has toured to The National Building Museum, Washington and the Chicago Architectural Foundation.
Their video installation 'Motion Path' was presented as a solo exhibition at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, and PM Gallery, London.
In March 2006 the artists received a production award from Film London for a new 16mm film project 'Proposal, for an unmade film (set in the future)'. During September 2006 the film was shot on location in Lanzarote at the Timanfaya National Park and several of artist César Manrique’s architectural projects including Los Jameos del Agua, Mirador del Rio and his house and studio; Taro de Tahiche. After a further studio shoot the film was completed and premiered in NFT3 at BFISouthbank, London, in June 2007. 'Proposal...' has subsequently been shown at the Oberhausen, Rotterdam, Leeds and Brighton International Film Festivals, as well as being included as a film installation in the Netherlands Media Art Institute exhibition 'In Search of the Unknown' in Amsterdam, February 2009.
The second film in an ongoing series, 'Machine on Black Ground' was completed in November 2009. Shot at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin, The Meeting House at Sussex University and Coventry Cathedral it combines original footage with material from the BFI National Archive.
Graham Ellard is a Reader in the School of Art at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, Stephen Johnstone is a Reader at Goldsmiths University of London. They both live in London.