A State of Agreement
UK, 2008, 34 minutes
Director: Charlotte Ginsborg
Producer: Stephanie Willats
From the 1960s till today, Stephen Willats has situated his artistic practice at the intersection between art and other disciplines, such as cybernetics, systems research, behaviourism, communications theory or computer technology. This practice has constructed and developed a language for conceptual art that is collaborative, interactive and participatory.
The film is based round an interview between Stephen Willats and Dr Andrew Wilson, Curator of Modern and Contemporary British Art at the Tate, and includes reproduction of several of Willats’ works and other primary film source material. This lively debate, which takes place both in Willats’ studio and on location in West London where he made some of his key pieces, concerns his artistic ideas and documents the intellectual rigour and structured content of Stephen Willats’ work and reveals new understandings for his pioneering art practice. It covers the different values behind Willats’ work, the range of media he employs to address changing varieties of social issues and his vision of the future based on a fluid and transient approach to reality, people and society.
The film also builds on the ability of Willats’ work – often site-specific or located outside conventional Gallery situations – to directly impact on groups of people who do not usually form part of the audience for the visual arts. The film reveals the varying ways he adopts to give the viewer the means to find their own journey within the work, to reach their own state of agreement, both with other people around them and with the wider world.
Stephen Willats has edited and published Control Magazine since 1965.