Helen Petts is an artist film-maker who – using a small stills camera and a Zoom recorder – explores rhythm, texture, sound and chance events, both in the landscape and in her long standing relationship with the free improvisation music community.
In her film “Throw Them Up and Let Them Sing” she followed in Kurt Schwitters’ footsteps exploring footpaths, fells and fjords through Norway and the Lake District, with accompanying improvised merz-type sounds from musicians Sylvia Hallett, Adam Bohman, Roger Turner and Phil Minton. Commissioned by the Hatton Gallery in Newcastle, for installation alongside Schwitters’ Merzbarn Wall, the film was also exhibited by Abbot Hall Gallery, Kendal, the Royal Festival Hall and Tate Britain.
Petts regularly shows her films at music festivals abroad, has recently been a visiting lecturer at Bergen Art Academy and Kathmandu University, and runs the monthly free improvisation concert Mopomoso with guitarist John Russell. She also curates the hugely popular Youtube site helentonic devoted to free improv performances and related work.
For the FON Festival, Helen presented a new installation work about improvising saxophonist Lol Coxhill, who died in 2012.
Helen Petts’ commission for FON 2013 is supported by Arts Council England’s Grants fort the Arts.