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Posted 20.03.19

Plymouth College of Art Director of Research to speak at the University of Amsterdam

By Lauren Taverner Brown
Plymouth College of Art’s Director of Research, Judith Noble, will give a talk at the University of Amsterdam this weekend for an expert seminar as part of the symposium 'Surrealism as Art History – Surrealism and Art Theory', 22 and 23 March, alongside a host of specialists in the fields of Surrealism and art theory.

The talk, titled ‘Parker Tyler. Film Criticism and Surrealism’, will examine the work of Parker Tyler (1907 -1974). Tyler was one of America’s leading film critics from the mid 1940s until the end of the 1960s. Tyler was part of the circle of artists and writers which formed around the émigré surrealists in New York during World War Two. Judith Noble will present a paper which argues that Tyler’s immersion in surrealism laid the foundations for his approach to film, and look at how the key concepts in his work developed from his early understandings of surrealism, considering especially his understanding of film as an expression of unconscious desires and as a form of myth.

Tyler’s influence on contemporary thinking about film has been profound but overlooked. He was the first critic to write about homosexuality in film, and he not only analysed homosexuality in mainstream Hollywood and European cinema, and developed the concept of the female movie star as gay icon, but also wrote supportively of the work of queer underground film-makers. He also developed the concept of the cult film.

Judith Noble is Director of Research at Plymouth College of Art. She was formerly Principal Lecturer and Course Leader for Film production at Arts University Bournemouth. Prior to this she worked in the film industry for public sector film funds and as Head of Production at Sgrin Wales she executive-produced films by directors including Peter Greenaway and Amma Asante. Her research interests centre on avant-garde film in the UK and US (1940-90) with an emphasis on the occult and magical and work by women.

She is co-founder of the Black Mirror International Research Network which publishes a series of volumes on contemporary and modernist arts and the occult and magic. She is the organiser of the symposium Seeking The Marvellous - Ithell Colquhoun, British Women and Surrealism (Plymouth, March 2018). She has also published on Maya Deren (in Bauduin, Ferentinou, Zamani (eds): Surrealism, Politics and The Occult, 2017, Routledge); Kenneth Anger; and Derek Jarman.

She is joint editor with Daniel Zamani of the recently-published volume Visions of Enchantment - Selected Papers from the Cambridge conference (Fulgur 2019), the launch of which took place at the college in March 2019.

Judith began her career as an artist filmmaker and has exhibited film works in the exhibition Black Mirror: Magic In Art (Arts University Bournemouth Gallery 2017, and touring). Her films are distributed by Cinenova.

The symposium ‘Surrealism as Art History - Surrealism and Art Theory’ takes place at the University of Amsterdam on 22 and 23 March 2019. A public lecture titled ‘The Avenging Archangel’ will be held as part of the symposium. The lecture will look at the comeback made by surrealism in the 1960s in Europe and the US, after being almost entirely ignored through the previous decade. Click here to find out how to register for the public lecture.