Random Acts: The Chapman Brothers

Dazed asked friends and family to create three-minute clips for Channel 4's series of televised art

Over the last few months, Dazed & Confused has been asking artists, musicians and filmmakers to create original and captivating shorts for Random Acts, a new series of televised art on Channel 4. Showing 260 specially commissioned three-minute films over the year, Random Acts’ mission statement is “Television as art, rather than about art” - and this challenge has been taken up by established and new filmmakers working in a range of media, including dance, video art, spoken word and animation.

Today we launch our new project page, collating a few of the films we've been part of creating. You'll find shorts from - except for the Chapman Brothers - Karl Sadler & Chris Saunders, Miriam Ella and Luke Gilford. To kick it off, we chat to Jake Chapman about their contribution, 'Fucking Hell'.

it’s all part of the single, solitary threadbare idea that we've been exorcising for the past twenty years. The wonderful myriad of possible ideas comes to us but tends to refract back into this single, solitary threadbare idea. It’s comforting to only have one idea

The Chapman Brothers’ clip is a hell-on-earth installation, starkly titled “Fucking Hell”. Part-battle-scene, part-mystical-weirdness, the piece depicts men lying strewn with swords and spears poking out of various places, while others have pig’s heads or three bodies. Though the entire set-up remains still, the camera picks its way round the scene, slowly unfolding it to Samuel Barber’s hauntingly melancholic “Adagio for Strings”.

Dazed Digital: Does ‘Fucking Hell’ depict a specific event or reflect a general mood?
Jake Chapman:
The scene in 'Fucking Hell' depicts a single vignette, taken from a sprawling mass of filmic vignettes yet to be tacked together to form a fully formed film. It is, in this sense, a work in progress, awaiting time, money and effort before it gets produced, filmed and directed and hurtles straight to DVD.

DD: How does ‘Fucking Hell’ merge with your recent White Cube exhibition?
Jake Chapman: Oh, it’s all part of the single, solitary threadbare idea that we've been exorcising for the past twenty years. The wonderful myriad of possible ideas comes to us but tends to refract back into this single, solitary threadbare idea. It’s comforting to only have one idea.

DD: What’s the significance for you of the final image of a Christlike effigy?
Jake Chapman: It’s the most vengeful image, and therefore the most appropriate to pour scorn upon.

DD: How did you come to settle on the title?
Jake Chapman: It started out being the thing that most people said when they first saw the first “Hell” sculpture (2000) – before it burned, boo hoo! It seemed appropriate to title the second remake after the verbal reactions to the original. Nicely circular.‪

Visit the Random Acts project page HERE to see all the Dazed & Confused-curated films

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