Peter Watkins | the artist




The artist Peter Watkins
Born Oct 29 1935, Norbiton, Surry, England.
Lives and works in France.

Style and technique of the artist: Video, Sydney Biennale,


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…Watkins’ peripatetic life, spent developing and trying to complete projects in cinema and TV, and his occasional embittered polemics in print, are all that is certain. Rumours circulate of an international shoestring production on ecological disaster, and about further failed projects with production houses. Watkins’ intelligence, passion and skill have been consistently masked by controversy: he is the most neglected and perhaps the most significant major British director of his generation.

When I use the term ‘media crisis’, I am referring to the increasingly irresponsible manner in which the mass audiovisual media (MAVM) function, and to their disastrous impact on society, human affairs, and the environment.

I refer to the widespread public passivity towards the way the MAVM flagrantly comport themselves as proponents of violent, exploitative and hierarchical ideologies, and to the catastrophic and ongoing lack of public knowledge about what the mass audiovisual media are doing to us…

After education at Cambridge and RADA, he became an amateur documentary filmmaker, gaining some notoriety for shorts like The Diary of an Unknown Soldier (1959) and The Forgotten Faces (1961). In these films, Watkins initiated a challenge towards conventional cinematic norms that he has yet to relinquish…



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