Chalk Trace


Esther Johnson

As a child in the 1950s, Ron Cockroft drew a chalk line from his school in Oldham to his home in Chadderton. Chalk Trace commemorates and reanimates his graffiti journey through a now much-changed network of streets.

This work is a mixed-media animation in which the actual locations of the narrative were photographed as they stand in 2013. These images were subsequently printed and then re-photographed in order to create an animated documentary. The documentary traces a journey made in 2013 that mirrors the one originally made by Cockroft six decades ago.

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Esther Johnson, Still from Chalk Trace, 2013

This is a Blanche Pictures Production, commissioned by Film London for Channel Four in association with Arts Council England.

Credits: A film by Esther Johnson / Sound Design  Chu-Li Shewring / Executive Producers Maggie Ellis and Rose Cupit

Chalk Trace will be screening within a programme called ‘Urban Visionaries’ at Canary Wharf Screen, London, 17 January-12 February 2014.

Esther Johnson (MA Royal College of Art, BA University of London) is an artist and filmmaker whose research practice explores documentary portraiture through moving image, audio and photography. Her work reveals resonant stories of the everyday that may otherwise be hidden or ignored. Recurring themes include personal histories, heritage, tradition, architectural vernacular and precarious futures. Her work has been exhibited internationally including Tate Modern; Tate Britain; BFI; IDFA; LFF; ICA; NASA; Istanbul Biennial and on BBC television and radio. She has written for several arts publications, is an independent film/video curator, and is Reader in Media Arts at Sheffield Institute of Arts, Sheffield Hallam University. In 2012, Johnson won the Philip Leverhulme Prize in Performing and Visual Arts for young scholars.

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