Joanna Byrne is a filmmaker, photographer and creative educator, based in Leeds, UK. She is interested in what it means to use film in the digital era: the tactile and material properties of celluloid; working directly onto the film’s surface; and salvaging and repurposing ‘found’ footage. In her expanded cinema performances, she intervenes into the projection machinery to create films that can only be experienced in the moment of their making. As well screening her own and others’ work, she teaches hands-on, experimental filmmaking to people from all walks of life.
MPhil Contemporary Art and Graphic Design: Expanding Cinema: New forms of production, organisation and exhibition of film and the moving image, Leeds Metropolitan University, 2011
BA (Hons) Graphic Fine Art, University of East London, 2002.
Between 2010-2013, Unravel created the longest hand-painted 16mm film in Britain (at a ratio of one frame per metre of the 874 miles between John O’Groats and Land’s End), via open access workshops with 3000+ participants in galleries, museums, film festivals and community venues across the UK. Unravel brought celluloid to new audiences in an accessible and hands-on way, stressing the experimental and tactile nature of collaborative camera-less filmmaking.
For the Whitney residency, Unravel facilitated workshops with seven different community groups and schools, and staged three large-scale open access workshop events for families, teens and Whitney members, alongside the Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art 1905-2016 exhibition. Footage produced during the workshops was edited into a short film for screening on the final day of the residency. Each frame of the film related directly to one square foot of the 18,000-square-foot Neil Bluhm Family Galleries, where Dreamlands was installed.
Unravel screenings – 2011-2012: Ikon Gallery, Birmingham | Firstsite Gallery, Colchester | Chisenhale Gallery, London | Berwick Film Festival, Berwick Upon Tweed | The Arnolfini, Bristol | Bradford Animation Festival, National Media Museum, Bradford | Document 9 Film Festival, Glasgow
Selected Performances, Screenings and Group Exhibitions
- Screen Kiss (16mm expanded cinema performance), On Residual Agencies, The Telfer Gallery/Edinburgh Art Festival Fringe.
- Unravel NYC (screening), Rogue Cinema, Manchester.
- Unravel NYC (video installation), Leeds College of Art, Leeds.
- Unravel NYC (screening), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
- between a and b (35mm installation), Leeds College of Art, Leeds: Embodied Language.
- Screen Kiss Series (16mm & 8mm film) screened as part of ONE HUNDRED FOOT touring programme at the Star and Shadow, Newcastle; Jerwood Gallery, London; Whitstable Biennale Satellite Programme, Whitstable; and Lo & Behold Gallery, London.
- Screen Kiss (16mm expanded cinema performance), Rogue Studios, Manchester: Film Material Soup #8
- Screen Kiss Series (16mm & 8mm film) screened as part of ONE HUNDRED FOOT touring programme at MK Gallery, Milton Keynes and Latitude Festival.
- Manifestoh! (super 8mm film) screened at National Portrait Gallery, London: Film Movement in Light – A Contemporary Expression.
- Screen Kiss (16mm expanded cinema performance), The Royal Standard, Liverpool, Misdirect Movies: Film Material Soup.
- p.o.v. (16mm film installation) The Lighthouse, Wolverhampton: Flip Animation Festival.
- The Harrowing of Hell (installation: 16mm, super 8 and 8mm transferred to digital video) at The Art House, Wakefield.
- Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise [Conceal] (16mm expanded cinema performance), FACT, Liverpool: Cellul-oko.
- Leeds 78 (16mm & 35mm expanded cinema performance), Project Space Leeds, Leeds: GLAMOURIE – M1 < Dark Heart.
- Expanded cinema performances, installation and film screening, Granary Wharf, Leeds: Cinéma Corporel.
- The only time i feel totally free is… (super 8mm transferred to digital video), screened at Temple Works, Leeds.
- Manifest-oh! (super 8mm film) screened at The Plaza, Leeds: Cinema Povera.
- Untitled for two projectors (16mm expanded cinema installation) The Plaza, Leeds: The Plaza Principle.
- Manifest-oh! (super 8mm) screened at Sheffield DocFest, Sheffield: Attack of the 50ft Reels.
- Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise [Conceal] (16mm expanded cinema performance) at The Exploding Cinema, London: Disposable Film.
- Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise [Conceal] (16mm expanded cinema performance) at Leeds International Film Festival, Leeds: EXP24/Kinetika!
- Expanded cinema performances, ESA Patrick Studios, Leeds: EXP24.
- Madonna and Child (16mm expanded film installation, Granary Wharf, Leeds: Light Night – EXP24
- Expanded cinema performances (super 8mm, 16mm, slides), Hull International Short Film Festival: Slack Video
- Expanded cinema performances (super 8mm, 16mm, slides), Leeds Film Quarter, Leeds: Short Circuits/EXP24.
- Installation, Berlinwindowlicker, Berlin: White on White
Discussion of Screen Kiss by Anastassiou, M. 2018. ‘Silver Screens’ in: Tompouris, L. ed. Physical or Otherwise: Suggestions and Encounters. Glasgow: The Telfer Gallery, pp.32-49.
the only time i feel totally free is… (super 8mm transferred to digital video) featured in ed. Horton, D. (2019) SoAnyway, Issue 11: Sometimes and Never.
2016: Unravel Residency at The Whitney Museum of American Art, for: Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art 1905–2016, New York.
2012: Artist in Residence at Artspace, Leeds Art Gallery, for Fiona Rae: Maybe you can live on the moon in the next century, Leeds.
2011: Artist at Artforms, for Arts Carousels (artists’ continuing professional development programme), Leeds.
2012: Flip Animation Festival, Wolverhampton: P.O.V.
2012: Wakefield Mystery Tour, Wakefield: The Harrowing of Hell
2010: The Plaza Principle, The Plaza, Leeds: Untitled installation for two 16mm projectors
Creative Practitioner (Teaching)
2017: ‘Living Mural’ @ BedPop 2017, Bedford Creative Arts/The Higgins, Bedford
2016: Unravel @ the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York | Bedford Creative Arts/The Higgins, Bedford
2013: University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen: Sound Festival | Turner Contemporary, Margate | Dunoon Film Festival, Dunoon | The Kazimier, Liverpool
2012: Flip Animation Festival, Wolverhampton | Artforms, Leeds | Tate Britain, London | Firstsite, Colchester
2011: National Media Museum, Bradford: Drawing on Film | Chisenhale Gallery, London | Bar Lane Studios, York | Manchester Mela, Manchester | Tate Britain, London | Newsham Park Festival/FACT, Liverpool | Zion Arts, Manchester | FACT, Liverpool | Basement Arts Project, Leeds | Hot Bed Press, Salford: Sights From the Other City | ARTCH, London | MAC, Birmingham: Flatpack Festival, | Granary Wharf, Leeds: Cinema Corporel | Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester | IKON Gallery, Birmingham
2010: Impressions Gallery, Bradford | Red Eric Studios, Leeds | The Plaza, Leeds: Cinema Povera | Project Space Leeds, Leeds: Lumen: Body in the City | School of Art, Architecture & Design, University of Huddersfield | No.w.here, London | Town Hall, Sheffield: Sheffield DocFest | National Media Museum, Bradford: Bradford Animation Festival | Gallery 42, Leeds: Leeds International Film Festival | Picture This, Bristol: Encounters International Film Festival | Chisenhale Gallery, London | Noise Lab, Manchester: Abandon Normal Devices | South Bank, London: The Big Draw
2009: East Street Arts, Patrick Studios, Leeds | School of Fine Art, University of Leeds
2008: East Street Arts, Patrick Studios, Leeds | Leeds College of Art | Leeds City Library, Leeds: Leeds Independent Media Exposition | Artlink, Hull: Hull International Short Film Festival