Luke Fowler

ILAM ACTUAL (with Alex Hetherington, Lee Patterson and Soft Touch arts), 2023

16mm film with separate stereo sound

Young people from Leicestershire have worked with Turner Prize-shortlisted artist and filmmaker, Luke Fowler, to make Ilam Actual: a series of short film and sound pieces to be shown at the National Trust’s Ilam Park and YHA Ilam Hall in the Peak District, as part of Arts&Heritage’s Meeting Point programme on Saturday 19 August, 1-5pm.

Working with experimental filmmaker Alex Hetherington and sound artist Lee Patterson, Fowler guided the young people from Soft Touch Arts through a series of sound and recording experiments to produce 16mm films capturing elements of Ilam Park, the YHA youth hostel Ilam Hall, and the surrounding landscape of the Peak District.

Each single-shot film runs continuously for 40 seconds with no editing, reflecting the methods used in ‘actuality films’ – a type of proto-documentary inspired by early cinema pioneers in which a silent film is composed within a single, unedited take.

“What inspires me about this place – Ilam Park and Hall – is the manufactured nature of the landscape and the house, the threshold between what is natural and what is artificial, and the palimpsest of different eras. You can read any landscape through different lenses, which is what I’m encouraging these young film makers to do – deconstructing what we can see and hear to think about the interconnections between the house, occupants and nature.” – Luke Fowler

The films were shot over the course of a weekend at Ilam Park and the youth hostel, with Lee Patterson supporting the young people through the process of recording a series of sound ‘actualities’, reframing Ilam’s landscape though recordings, while Luke Fowler and Alex Hetherington enabled the creation of the films.

The artists, the National Trust and YHA worked in collaboration with Soft Touch Arts, a Leicester-based arts charity working with young people.

Both Ilam Park and Hall were bequeathed to the National Trust on the condition that the hall became a youth hostel; a gift which has enabled tens of thousands of people to access the countryside, who may not otherwise have been able to.

Link to Interview between David Toop and Luke Fowler

Luke Fowler, Illam Actual, 2023 with Soft Touch Arts, Alex Hetherington & Lee Patterson

Photos of the Artists: Luke Fowler, Lee Patterson and Alex Hetherington with Soft Touch Arts participants at Ilam Park by Pascal Vossen