By Gareth Stevens

Lockdown has meant the cessation of so many social events that, pre-pandemic, we had all taken for granted. It has made us all reflect on just how much we need to interact and commune with each other. Whether it be in team sports, singing together, dancing or performing, the majority of us have been unable to mix in large groups, and for some it has meant that, on top of that, we have been unable to pursue our passions. Malcolm Glover’s POSTPONED project seeks to underline and document the extent to which life has been different in this respect over the last 12 months.

Kim Wan: Postponed rugby match, Rye rfc v St Leonard’s Cinque Ports rfc

Mal is a veteran documentary photographer and filmmaker. Whether he is documenting the life of rural communities on the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales or producing an exquisite short film of workers in an Indian glass factory (in collaboration with glass artist, Chris Bird-Jones), he is always driven by the desire to capture and celebrate the ordinarily unnoticed.

POSTPONED will capture the mood of post-lockdown England in a series of short video portraits featuring a range of individuals and communities who have had their big event or gathering postponed or cancelled because of the coronavirus. The resulting film will be a series of roughly thirty-second films of unflinching subjects looking directly into Mal’s viewfinder. From pantomime actors to ballroom dancers, to bingo enthusiasts, to devotees of music festivals, to football fans, to nightclubbers, to historical re-enactment societies and street festival celebrants – all have been or will be filmed in the location where their event didn’t happen. 

Mark French, Captain Hastings Bonfire Society: Postponed lighting of beacon, East Hill  Hastings

Although POSTPONED will be exhibited online as part of the Coastal Currents festival website this year, Mal tells me that he is “very interested about the idea of showing the resulting film in spaces in which people are not expecting to see it”. We discussed that whilst still loving the traditional Art Gallery set-up, it can at times seem a little too orthodox and can often only attract a limited demographic.

The slightly unnerving and unusual format of the piece is destined to really capture that sense of loss keenly felt by those who would otherwise have been pursuing their passions and pastimes. It will stand as a lasting digital testimony to the diversity of lives disrupted by the year of lockdown.

Although Mal is unsure what people’s reaction to POSTPONED will be, he told me that he hopes the inherently unnerving sensation the viewer gets from viewing the resulting collection of video portraits will be analogous to the unease we have collectively felt during the pandemic. On viewing some early examples of Mal’s video portraits for this project, I felt empathy for all the individuals featured and, in turn, also reassured that we are indeed all in this together.

If you have any suggestions of other cancelled events that could be featured in this work, please contact Mal. [email protected]

There is an official call-out for participants on his website

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