Scratch!

28th May – 28th June 2008

Gorilla Tapes
Goldbacher & Flitcroft
George Barber
The Duvet Brothers

Seventeen is proud to introduce SCRATCH! a retrospective exhibition featuring works from key artists associated with Scratch Video, a low budget British video-collage movement of the early 1980’s. Keen to exploit newly available video editing technology, between 1983 and 1986 an intimate group of London based artists began to experiment with pre-existing video footage recorded directly from television or ripped from other moving image sources. The Scratch Video collage style with its percussive montages, rhythmic or repetitious looping of images and use of graphical overlays and special effects can be identified as a direct response to the emergent malleability of the VCR format. 

Between the artists included in SCRATCH! two conceptual approaches can be identified – one explicitly political, the other more aesthetic. The work of Gorilla Tapes and The Duvet Brothers respectively confronted the political and cultural issues of 80’s Britain head on, challenging the divisive conservatism of Thatcherite social policy, the ongoing troubles in Northern Island and the Reagan led American influence on global foreign policy. 

The political drive and rabid anti-establishment ethos of Gorilla Tapes and The Duvet Brothers gives way in the work of George Barber and the collaborative efforts of Sandra Goldbacher and Kim Flitcroft to a more subtle examination of the aesthetic potential of manipulated video. Barber in particular infused his Scratch Videos with a dreamy sensibility enriched with pulsing electronic soundtracks and trippy hyper colour visuals. Aesthetic properties are equally paramount in the work of Goldbacher & Flitcroft – their snappier offerings fusing music by artists such as Donna Summer and Joy Division with archive cine film and super kitsch Hammer Horror style film footage.

Over 22 years since its emergence, history demonstrates the degree to which Scratch Video was assimilated into the mainstream world of commercial television – particularly in the fields of advertising and music video. That Scratch Video is an under recognised movement today can be attributed in part to the efficiency of this commercial recuperation.  The innovation of the original movement being lost amongst the multitude of imitations and replications proffered by a commercial world eager to tap into the energetic style, technique and attitude circulated by the original Scratch artists, all of whom are included in this exhibition. 

SCRATCH! is the second exhibition at Seventeen’s new basement exhibition space curated by Paul Pieroni and will run concurrently with Grand Hotel Abyss, the CutUp collective’s third solo exhibition at the gallery.

Scratch FRONT-PAGE-IMAGE
Screatch video InstalI
Installation View, 2008
Scratch George Barber,Tilt 1984
George Barber, Tilt, 1984
DVD transfer from VHS
5 mins
Scratch George-Barber,-Tilt 1984
George Barber, Tilt, 1984
DVD transfer from VHS
5 mins
Scratch 3 screen
Installation View, 2008
Scratch Install screens
Installation View, 2008
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Goldbacher and Flitcroft, Love Will Tear Us Apart, 1986
DVD transfer from VHS
3 mins
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Goldbacher and Flitcroft, Love Will Tear Us Apart1986
DVD transfer from VHS
3 mins
Scratch Gorilla Tapes,-Death-Valley-Days,1984
Gorilla Tapes, Death Valley Days, 1984
DVD transfer from VHS
20 mins
Scratch Gorilla-Tapes,-Death-Valley-Days,-1984
Gorilla Tapes, Death Valley Days, 1984
20 mins
DVD transfer from VHS
Scratch The Duvet-Brothers, Blue Monday
The Duvet Brothers, Blue Monday, 1984
DVD transfer from VHS
2 mins
Scratch The-Duvet-Brothers,-War-Machine 1984,
The Duvet Brothers, War Machine, 1984
DVD transfer from VHS
2 mins
Scratch-Video-archive-photo
Scratch Video archive photo
Scratch-Video-in-the-Guardian-Dec-1985
Scratch Video in the Guardian Dec 1985