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The Duellists (short version) - free media meets freerunning

By MediaShed: director David Valentine, featuring Methods of Movement
Commissioned by Futuresonic 2007

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One of the new artworks commissioned by Futuresonic in 2007, The Duellists has been shown 18 times at international events, and was identified by New York Times as the highlight of Eyebeam's Source Code exhibition.

Freeing urban space, making it strange - The Duellists was commissioned as a part of the Art for Shopping Centres exhibition curated by Drew Hemment at Futuresonic 2007.

In March 2007 MediaShed were invited to the Manchester Arndale Shopping Centre by Futuresonic to make a film combining free-media with free-running. Parkour or free-running involves fluid uninterrupted movement adapting motion to obstacles in the environment. Like free-media, free-running makes use of and re-enrgises the infrastructure of the city. Free-media film adapts environmental and discarded hardware to make filmmaking accessible to all.

Working with Southend based professional parkour breakin' crew Methods of Movement a choreographed performance was filmed in the shopping centre over three consecutive nights. The film was shot using only the existing in-house CCTV network of 160 cameras operated from the central control room, with a soundtrack created entirely from the foundsounds and noises recorded during the performance.

The finished film was screened at the Manchester Arndale (10th - 20th May) using the screens inside the Manchester Arndale on the infrastructure plasmas, in an exhibition pod and inside eleven stores.

The Duellists was an art project for urban screens that was made for the specific location of one of the UK's main shopping centres and for the people of the city who live around it. It was one of 3 major new commissions in Futuresonic's Art For Shopping Centres exhibition, also featuring Harwood and Katherine Moriwaki, which was developed over an 18 month period and featured linked activities across the UK.

There were only two news items on regional TV on the opening days of the exhibition, the resignation of Tony Blair and the exhibition, which was watched by a TV audience of 4 million. Over 1 million passed through the Arndale Shopping Shopping Centre during the time it was showing.

It was a part of Futuresonic's focus since 2004 on participatory projects in urban spaces. This project initiated by Futuresonic was also a first implementation of the GEARBOX free-media video toolkit - an umbrella project looking at free and open forms of video production.

Kids from the shopping centre were then recruited for a free media and freerunning workshop two weeks later.

The Duellists ||| Credits

A MediaShed Production
Commissioned by Futuresonic 2007

Written & Directed by David Valentine
Choreographed by Methods of Movement
Performers James Hall & Joe Livermore
Soundtrack Hybernation

Part of Art For Shopping Centres
Curated by Drew Hemment

Filmed on location at the Manchester Arndale
Production Manager Sam Pepper
Still photography Jan Dixon & Emily Dixon

Special thanks to
Andrew Harley-Mills
Graham Harwood
Drew Hemment
Matsuko Yokokoji
Manchester Arndale Security

The Duellists is the first official implementation of Gearbox the free-media video toolkit

Futuresonic exhibition
Futuresonic exhibition
Futuresonic exhibition
Futuresonic exhibition
Freeing urban space, making it strange - the artworks in Art For Shopping Centres
were surrounded incongruously by must-have fashion items.