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LUX Artists' Moving Image Survey 2010 - Summary Findings

LUX, 3rd Floor, Shacklewell Studios, 18 Shacklewell Lane, London, E8 2EZ

Introduction

This paper summarises findings from an online survey LUX ran for two
months from March - April 2010 aimed at professional artists working with the
moving image. The survey was publicised solely online through LUX mailing
lists, facebook and twitter as well as specialist lists aimed at artists' working
with the moving image such as Film London Artists Moving Image Network,
Artquest and the mailing lists of organisations which had studios or associate
artists. A competition prize was offered to encourage people to complete the
survey and they were also asked to put their names forward if they would be
interested in taking part in more detailed focus based research which will
explore further some of the themes of this survey.

The purpose of the survey was to attempt to take a snapshot of the current
state of moving image practice in the UK, primarily for LUX to use for in terms
of thinking about how it might serve the sector better, but also to share the
data with peer organisations to generally create a better understanding of the
area as a whole.

The questions were devised mainly by LUX staff with some input from
external colleagues, for example some of the financial section was devised to
mirror similar micro-finance research undertaken by Artquest into artists'
income in 2009.

This report presents summary data collected from the survey with the top
percentages rounded out to the nearest full number, with some accompanying
analysis of the data

About respondents

In total 267 responses were received, of these 168 completed the finance
section fully (incomplete surveys were discounted in this section), in terms of
amount of time as practicing artist the largest group have been practicing 5-10
years (26%) followed by 2-5 years (25%) then more than 15 years (21%). The
largest area of respondents by far was London (70%) followed by South East
and South West England (both 7%) then Scotland and Wales (both 3%).
Respondents from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland made up 7%.

Finances

58% of respondents earned less than £15,000 per year, followed by 18%
earning £15-£25,000 and 11% earning between the £25-£35,000.

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The largest part by far of that income came from non-arts related salary (31%
of respondents total income came from that source). For 70% of respondents
only 10-20% of their income came from sales or commissions. Similarly 59%
of respondents' received only 10-20% of their income from bursaries and
awards. However 30% of respondents said 80-100% of their income came
from arts-related salaries. The largest majority of arts-related income came
from teaching in higher education (44%) followed by working in moving image
production (arts sector) (32%) and then arts administration (23%).

When asked what the production cost of their last moving image work was
20% had production costs of between £1000-£5000, 18% costs of between
£5000-£20000 with 7% having production costs in excess of £20,000.

The next question asked what artists' fee was received for the last production
and for what period worked, the responses here varied wildly. The highest fee
was £20,000 but for 200 days work, the best fee in terms of hours worked was
£7,000 for 25 days work. The average fee was between £1-3,000, however
the majority of responds suggested a great disparity between fees and hours
worked, for example one of the worst being £500 for 150 days work.

In terms of funding sources the largest number of respondents (44%) have


applied to Arts Council England with 40% reporting success, 35% have never
considered applying. The next most popular funder was the Film London
Artists Film and Video Awards (now called FLAMIN Productions) with 43%
applying and a success rate of 14% of respondents (although this is a far
more limited fund than grants for arts). Trusts/ foundations were the next most
significant funding source (33% with success rate of 28% of respondents),
with The Elephant Trust and the Wellcome Trust being the most popular
sources. University research funding was also fairly significant at 26% with a
success rate of 21% of respondents.

The majority of respondents (66%) had never sold work, of those who had
sold work the main way this happened was directly with the buyer (18%)
followed by a sale as part of a commission (11%), while sales through a
representing gallery being the smallest percentage (7%). 81% of respondents
did not feel confident about how moving image works are brought and sold.

Production

Image Capture
Film remains a significant production medium with 52% of those surveyed
using it as a capture format (with 16mm being the most popular). Standard
definition video is still more widely used than HD, and is generally the most
popular image capture format.

Cameras

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The majority of respondents use their own camera (78%), with loans from
friends (32%) and college (23%) being other significant sources, commercial
hire was slightly more popular than non-commercial hire.

Editing
90% of respondents use their own desktop editing system, followed by college
facilities, again commercial post-production facilities are slightly more popular
than non-commercial ones.

Exhibition formats
DVD is by far the most popular exhibition format (90%), followed by file
playback from computer or hard drive. Film is also fairly significant (25%)
primarily 16mm.

General comments about what support is needed for production


• Critical forums
• Drop in technical support
• Artists’ friendly training
• Small scale production funding
• Subsidised support for lighting and sound
• Subsidised studio for shooting
• Subsidised16mm equipment
• Database of artist-friendly technicians
• National production funding schemes outside London and Scotland
• A funding system that acknowledges production costs
• Non-commercial facility for playing out to tape
• Specific capital grants for equipment

Exhibition and Distribution

68% of respondents did submit their work to festivals, the most referenced
festivals which supported artists’ work were:

Most referenced - international


• Rotterdam International Film Festival, Netherlands
• Oberhausen Short Film Festival, Germany

Most referenced - UK
• Aurora, Norwich
• Kill Your Timid Notion, Dundee
• London Film Festival

Other festivals mentioned (more than once)


• Courtisane, Ghent, Belgium
• Ann Arbor, USA

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• impakt, Utrecht
• Transmediale, Berlin, Germany
• Videoex, Zurich, Switzerland
• Images, Toronto, Canada
• Media City, Winsor, Canada
• EXIS, Seoul, Korea
• Onion City Film Festival, Chicago
• Migrating Forms, New York

66% regularly submit their work to open call screenings and exhibitions, in the
last year respondents applied to an average of 10 calls.

Key venues for artists’ moving image in the UK

Most referenced
• Whitechapel Gallery, London
• Chisenhale Gallery, London
• ICA, London
• Tate Modern, London
• LUX, London
• no.w.here, London
• Tramway, Glasgow
• Matts Gallery, London
• BFI, London
• Picture This, Bristol
• FACT, Liverpool

Other popular venues


• Star and Shadow, Newcastle
• Dundee Contemporary Arts
• Close-Up, London
• Vivid, Birmingham
• Spike Island, Bristol
• Sketch, London
• CCA Glasgow
• Parasol Unit, London
• Gasworks, London
• Site Gallery, Sheffield
• Lisson Gallery, London
• South London Gallery, London
• Artsway, Sway, New Forest
• S1, Sheffield
• Raven Row, London
• Form Content, London

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Events
• Olsen, Leeds
• AV Festival, North East
• Aurora, Norwich
• Kill Your Timid Notion, Dundee

Online exhibition
76% have exhibited work online, most popular on own site 62% followed by
42% on exhibitor site, most popular video site is Vimeo 38%.

Main reasons for not showing work online were


• Youtube etc are not serious 'venues' to exhibit work
• Works are specific to installation
• Compression compromises work too much
• Devalues the work
• Copyright issues
• Importance of the live presentation

What would help exhibition/distribution?


• More information about artist-friendly festivals/orgs/venues
• Commercial representation
• Distribution/ distribution advice/ mentoring
• Financial support for promotion/ website
• More commissioning opportunities
• Help with contacting exhibitors
• Exhibition technical support
• Screening/exhibition fees
• Networking opportunities
• More support structures outside of London

Sector

What are the key organisations for support of AMI in the UK

Most referenced
• Arts Council England
• Film London
• Film and Video Umbrella
• LUX
• no.w.here

Also referenced
• BFI
• Four Corners

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• Tate
• Picture This
• Animate
• Artprojx
• Scottish Arts Council

What are the key international organisations?

Most referenced
• UbuWeb, USA
• Electronic Arts Intermix, NY, USA
• MOMA, NY
• Video Data Bank, Chicago, USA
• Re:Voir, Paris, France
• DAAD, Berlin, Germany
• Argos, Brussels, Belgium
• Light Cone, Paris, France
• Canyon Cinema, San Francisco, USA
• Anthology Film Archives, NY, USA
• Light Industry, NY, USA
• Office for Contemporary Art, Oslo, Norway
• Pompidou Centre, Paris, France

What are the main sources of information about works, exhibitions and
screenings

• Ubuweb website
• Experimental Cinema website
• LUX mailing list/ website
• Secret Cinema mailing list
• eflux mailing list
• Artquest mailing list/ website
• an magazine
• Film London mailing list
• frameworks newsgroup
• Shooting people newsgroup/ mailing list

Main source for info on opportunities for moving image artists

The top three from those listed were


• LUX newswire 78%
• Film London Artists Moving Image Network 54%
• [an] magazine 37%

What are the main issues for the sector?

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• Cheap access to facilities and training
• More showing opportunities for emergent artists
• Promoting artists moving image as something accessible to the general
public and not so elitist
• Copyright issues
• Lack of funding
• Preservation issues
• Lack of standards for exhibition fees, sales etc
• Lack of market for sales
• Limited distribution opportunities
• Lack of regular programmes of historical and contemporary work
• Lack of screening venues
• Lack of critical language
• Lack of dedicated facilities/ screening/ funding outside london
• Education of curators in history of the area
• New technologies
• Too many organisations focused on commissioning work
• Lack of networking/ showing/discussion spaces

Summary Analysis

Finance
The income findings were roughly in line with the micro-finance research of
general visual artists undertaken in 2009 by Artquest, the majority of
respondents income came from non-arts related salary with sales and fees
making up around 20% of income.

Moving image production in both the arts and commercial sectors is an


important part of arts-related income, which hints at the complicated interplay
of skills and equipment access which characterises artists' production routes
(this needs more research)

Production costs are relatively high in relation to general incomes and


grants/fees being received. There is a great disparity between the amount of
time artists are spending on production and the fees they are receiving for this
work, particularly problematic when considering the prospects for eventual
sales of the work are very low. (this needs more research)

Arts Council England Grants of Arts is the most significant funder of artists'
moving image production, with a surprisingly high success rate in terms of
similar analysis from the Artquest research (this needs more research). Film
London Artists Film and Video Awards is also significant especially
considering it is limited to artists in Londonhowever as much more limited fund
than Grants for Arts, so this is to be expected.

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There does seem to be a need for more production-orientated funding like
Film London and the Scottish artists film and video awards considering the
relative high production costs and low returns artists are receiving and these
should be available nationally (not just in London and Scotland).

Sales of works are very low, which is to be expected considering that the
market for artists' moving image work remains fairly undeveloped. However
the survey also suggests that there is a widespread lack of knowledge about
how sales of moving image works are made, which is something LUX has
seen reflected across the arts sector as a whole. Increased knowledge in the
process and mechanisms of sales could only improve confidence in the
market and potentially lead to more sales activity.

Production summary analysis

The use of film remains strong as a capture format, but not as an exhibition
format.

Standard definition video use is still more widespread than HD, this could be
because of the costs involved with upgrading equipment.

The majority of respondents use their own production equipment, but those
that do hire equipment surprisingly access commercial facilities slightly more
than non-commercial ones. This could be because of the quality of the
equipment available (commercial facilities more able to re-capitalise their
equipment on a regular basis) or because commercial facilities may have
more latitude to offer discounted rates to artists (needs more research).

In the comments there were lots of requests for subsidised equipment which
at least in London and some other UK cities is theoretically available, but this
is obviously not the perception. (more research is needed into what specific
equipment/ production support artists might need)

In terms of funding in relation to production – once again respondents


expressed the need for specific production funding especially nationally
(outside of the geographically specific schemes that currently exist), small-
scale production support and specific capital grants for buying equipment thus
allowing artists to keep up with new technology such as HD.

Exhibition and Distribution

It was interesting that only 68% of respondents submitted work to festivals,


this was a key dissemination channel but perhaps reflects the general shift
away from more traditional film exhibition networks in artists’ moving image
practice. (more research needed)

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Unsurprisingly the long established Rotterdam and Oberhausen film festivals
were most referenced as key film festivals, but surprisingly in the UK the most
referenced festival was the now defunct AURORA festival in Norwich.

The range and diversity of key venues for moving in the UK point to the fact
that artists’ moving image is solidly embedded into the contemporary visual
arts, surprisingly the list only includes one cinema, The Star and Shadow in
Newcastle.

Attitudes to showing work online have changed dramatically in the past 5


years, with 76% of respondents having shown work in that way. Generally
exhibition remains dispersed mainly across individual artists and physical
exhibitor (such as gallery) sites, so visibility of works is probably an issue.
Surprisingly the most popular platform site is Vimeo rather than the better
known youtube – this could be to do with the perceived higher quality of the
site and the sense of it being slightly more ‘professional’ than the ‘amateur’
dominated youtube. In terms of resistance to online exhibition the main
reason is really one of context – many respondents just felt it wasn’t
appropriate to work which was dependent on a more specific context.

In terms of general exhibition/ distribution needs a large number of


respondents said they needed more distribution advice/ information and
practical support. Other points raised included artists’ funding specifically for
promotional/ dissemination work (for example to build a website), and
opportunities for artists to network directly with curators and programmers. In
terms of larger scale issues many raised the need for artists to receive
payment for exhibiting their work, and the general need for more artists’
moving image support structures outside London.

Sector

In terms of key organisations for support of artists’ moving image in the UK, of
those cited only two, Picture This, Bristol and the Scottish Arts Council are
based outside of London, once again making the point about the lack of
support structures outside of London.

In terms of where respondents got their information from about works key
sites and mailing lists included the US website Ubuweb which streams a huge
amount of film and video and the Spanish website Experimental Cinema as
well as a number of film and artists’ moving image mailing lists. In terms of
opportunities the most popular source of information was the
LUXNEWSWIRE and the Film London Artists Moving Image Network mailing
lists.

Conclusion

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While there are not any huge surprises here there is definitely some gaps in
provision for artists working in this area at the moment, some of which LUX
intends to address. LUX will now be organising more in-depth group-based
research with some of the respondents to explore some of the issues raised in
more detail. Thank you to everyone that took part in the survey.

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