Somewhere to Haunt: Patrick Keiller’s British Psychogeographic Cinema


British filmmaker Patrick Keiller, who writes, directs and shoots all of his films, uses the technique of subjective camera and voiceover, to create a reflective narrative, driven by narration of the exploits of an unseen character, Robinson, by his companion. Layering moving and static images, music, and quotation, Keiller’s films describe his character’s search for Utopia in the cities, suburbs and industrial landscapes of England. Drawing upon the Situationist theory of psychogeography – an updating of Baudelaire’s concept of the flâneur – Keiller’s films enable us to experience the unique pleasures and quandaries presented by wandering the environment with open eyes. This presentation will show two trailers and one feature-length film from the Robinson trilogy.
“Keiller’s witty, revealing script weaves together philosophy, the arts, history, politics, economics, science, agriculture, architecture and much else, even as surreal, mysterious and beautiful images, imbued with a deep love of the natural world, remind us of what’s at risk.” – Geoff Andrew, BFI

London (excerpt, 5 min.) Patrick Keiller, 1994
The first in the Robinson trilogy, London charts a year in the life of the protagonist, in which he reflects upon various facets of England’s capital.

Robinson in Space (excerpt, 5min.) Patrick Keiller, 1997
Venturing into the countryside on a series of seven excursions, the narrator follows Robinson as he is commissioned by a mysterious advertising agency to investigate the unspecified “problem of England.”

Robinson in Ruins (trailer, 2 min.) Patrick Keiller, 2010
Robinson in Ruins (101 min.) Patrick Keiller, 2010
Vanessa Redgrave plays the ex-lover of the deceased narrator of the first two films and recounts Robinson’s final outing to ‘sites of scientific and historical interest’ around Oxford, UK.

The screening is co-presented by the William H. Bronson and Grayce Slovet Mitchell Lecture Series at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. It’s the fourth screening in our monthly Image, Building, Object: Exploring Architecture and Design on Filmseries. Bringing an eclectic selection of documentaries, features, and vignettes to Black Cinema House, the series demystifies the process of how our objects, furniture, and buildings come into existence and simultaneously reveals how designers and architects have used film as a medium for expression and experimentation.

Somewhere to Haunt: Patrick Keiller’s British Psychogeographic Cinemas
Presented by James Goggin, Graphic Designer, Practise

Black Cinema House
6901 S. Dorchester Ave.