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Concrete Mixer



HD video

2 Screens at Right Angles

With thanks to Capital Concrete 


Concrete Mixer is a video taken from a turning concrete mixer lorry driving though the massive concrete construction sites in East London. Two cameras are placed on the turning drum, one looking backwards and one looking sideways. The lorry drives in a circuit from Capital Concrete in Silvertown East London, through the huge scale construction sites along the Thames and back through The Royal Albert Docks. 


The turning drum sends the world spinning in the cameras. The 'essential' construction supposed to aid the housing crisis tumbles upside down as the new tower blocks, out of reach for most people's incomes, fall and mix with the tangle of motorways, walkways and tunnels that they usually rise above.


During Lockdown the construction was one of the only industries not to close down. Instead it ran rampant seeming to fill every empty space including the sky with unaffordable housing. As the debt level must have risen along with the height of the towers the image of them spinning downwards sends these dreams of commercial gain crashing.


Concrete is the basis for all of these buildings and yet it is the world's third highest polluter, after carbon emissions and transport. The damage it does is embedded in the video’s entropic and relentless movement which undermines and undoes itself at every turn.


Yass has experimented with filming from moving viewpoints that, as with the concrete mixer, are also the subject of the film. In Descent the camera was lowered down the side of Canary Wharf in a man-frame and in High Wire a camera was positioned on the funambulist's helmet.


The physicality of the moving image has its precedent in the experimental film and video of the 1970s, when the rejection of narrative was seen as a political act as well as the exploration of the medium. This video specifically addresses the contemporary issues of pollution and housing through using the concrete mixer as a vehicle for spinning, turning and tumbling the image out of control, towards a language that challenges the physical and social structures that give rise to the destructive concrete construction of the new alienated cityscape.


Director of Photography  Nick Gordon-Smith
Editor  Catherine Yass

Thanks to  Capital Concrete

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