Joshua Alexander & Steven J Fowler: The Animal Drums

with Iain Sinclair

  • The Animal Drums (Still-Sea Figure)

    Joshua Alexander and Steven J Fowler, The Animal Drums, 2018

Past Event


This event was on Thu 13 Dec 2018, 7pm

Manichean visions revive disputed and despoiled London ground. Poetry in light and stone‘ – Iain Sinclair

Four years in the making, The Animal Drums is a collaboration between poet and artist SJ Fowler and moving image artist Joshua Alexander.

A city developer’s life and mind begins to break down as he re-encounters the London he once tried to shape as an active adversary. The Animal Drums is a feature-length art-film exploring the sad, macabre, abstract threat of a contemporary London in the grips of constant and nefarious growth.

The film charts the the particular, baffled and morbid character of English attitudes to mortality, along with the specific influence of place and conformity on the quintessentially English deferral of emotion and melodrama. It captures the ambiguous menace of an often accidentally humorous resolve, manner, apology and understatement so prevalent in the English character within a city that is proudly unEnglish, and it dwells upon the unfortunate consequence of blind development.

The evening will open with an introduction, reading and talk by Iain Sinclair, reflecting the themes of the film and his own practice in cinema. The screening is followed by a Q&A with Sinclair and the artists.

All attendees will receive a free copy of the last printed edition of independent, internationalist moving image magazine Vertigo, which comes with a DVD copy of Ken McMullen‘s acclaimed feature 1871.

Please be advised that there is image ‘flicker’ at regular points throughout the film.


Conceived and directed by Joshua Alexander and Steven J Fowler
Written by Steven J Fowler
Edited by Joshua Alexander
Featuring Stewart Home, Iain Sinclair, Lotje Sodderland, Simon Christian, Edie Deffebach, Andrew Breaks, Stuart Westerby

About Joshua Alexander

Joshua Alexander is a visual artist whose work often combines poetry and moving image. His film Ghost Machinery was recently nominated for the international prize at Zebra Poetry Film Festival in Germany in 2018. He has been commissioned to make short films by several organisations including The Austrian Cultural Forum and English Pen. He has screened work at various events including A World Without Words and Kakania, and in 2014 he had a solo exhibition of photography work at The Hardy Tree Gallery. He is currently taking the MFA at Ruskin School of Art.

About Steven J Fowler

Steven J Fowler is a writer and artist who works in poetry, fiction, theatre, film, photography, visual art, sound art and performance. He has published seven collections of poetry, three of artworks, four of collaborative poetry plus volumes of selected essays and selected collaborations. He has been commissioned by Tate Modern, BBC Radio 3, Tate Britain, the London Sinfonietta, Wellcome Collection and Liverpool Biennial. He has been longlisted for the Forward Prize and been sent to Peru, Bangladesh, Iraq, Argentina, Georgia and other destinations by The British Council. He has read at festivals including Hay on Wye, Cervantino in Mexico, Berlin Literature Festival and Hay Xalapa. He was nominated for the White Review prize for Fiction in 2014. His plays have been produced at Rich Mix, where he is associate artist, and his visual art has been exhibited at the V&A, Hardy Tree Gallery and Mile End Art Pavilion. http://www.stevenjfowler.com/

About Iain Sinclair

Iain Sinclair was born in South Wales. He lives, walks and writes in East London. His books include Downriver (winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Encore Prize), Lights Out for the TerritoryLondon OrbitalHackney,That Rose-Red EmpireAmerican Smoke and The Last London. His most recent publication is Living with Buildings.

About Vertigo

Vertigo, the moving image magazine, was founded 25 years ago and produced 30 issues between 1993-2009. Ranging across artists’ film and video, documentary, world cinema, new media and all points in between, it featured essays, reviews, features, portfolios, industry analysis and interviews with many of the world’s greatest film-makers. Engaged, collaborative and committed, it favoured independence, innovation and always imagination.

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