Over the last few months The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum has had a new visitor in the form of a magnificent pheasant which has taken residence in the museum’s sculpture ‘Reflected Vision’. ‘Reflected Vision’ is a sculpture created by artist Kenny Munro in 2015 which is informed by the museum’s collections of optical media, especially the Kaleidoscope. Because of this the museum have named him ‘Brewster’, after Sir David Brewster who invented that ever popular children’s toy in the 1820s. Brewster has been with us since May, delighting visitors and frequently admiring himself in the multiple mirrors that make up ‘Reflected Vision’”.
Kenny came down from Scotland recently to celebrate our 20th anniversary and wrote the following piece for us, which uses the arrival of Brewster to think about how the museum, and our sculpture, reflects the spirit of Bill Douglas and the collection that he put together with his friend Peter Jewell, linking Scotland and the South West, filmmaking and the love of the moving and projected image.
You can enjoy 'Reflected Vision' yourself at any time. If you enter the sculpture you will see multiple images of yourself and you can play around with different ways of seeing. There is a poetry stone with a verse from the Rubijat of Omar Khayyam about the wonders of projection that Bill Douglas used to preface his screenplay to his masterpiece 'Comrades'. In the winter the light creates beautiful reflections of nature onto the mirrored stainless steel. And you might also see Bewster...
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum
Our Avian Comrade by Kenny Munro
Photograph by Arielle Woods
The bird that flew the nest - returning to share and share alike.
Imagine a bird’s flight path from Newcraighall, in Scotland, via Egypt then London to finally come to roost in Exeter University. The ‘Trilogy’ of films by Bill Douglas have also grown wings and flown round the globe expressing a creative life, encouraging many filmmakers to respond to their own world and defining a role within it.
This expression of humanity in the world of film is represented in the cinema museum established twenty years ago in Exeter University.
The joy and passionate collecting by Peter Jewell and Bill Douglas has amassed a cornucopia of historic artefacts and filmic exhibits which has now matured in Exeter for all to enjoy, providing a temple for the study of the moving image and its historic origins in the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum.
Held in a democratic institution where inspiration, free access, education and sharing go hand in hand. Celebrated now for twenty years the collection has grown as a vast educational hub and a mass of creative invention, humanity and optimism. Expressing the spirit of ‘share and share alike’ as also revealed by the travelling lanternist in Bill’s epic film ‘Comrades’.
Bill’s films have travelled the world like the pigeons held dear by his Scottish relatives; these birds flew freely on a mission before returning to be nurtured in a safe haven.
Let’s hope the rich ‘ ever expanding’ collection of artefacts in the museum will be enjoyed for the next twenty years.
The largest addition to the collection is a specially designed metal sculpture surmounted by a magic lantern, entitled ‘Reflected Vision’ which is sited outside the museum. Since its installation, in 2015 it has been a focus for many folk and some unexpected avian visitors.
Most surprisingly the mirrored stainless steel structure has attracted a curious pheasant as a daily visitor and for many months it seems to have established a residency on site! Is the bird defining a new territory with the company of its own reflected vision or could it be imagined to symbolise a distant avian spirit and Comrade from Newcraighall, returning to visit after a long journey?
Kenny Munro November 2017
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