Anna, Helen, David & Lester

Anna, Helen, David & Lester

“For Fowler, every image and every idea carries a whole train of others in its wake, with the precise relationship between the original stimulus and the echoes it casts soon drowned out in the sheer cacophony of proliferating connections. [...]

With his subjects all united by an oft-thwarted idealism, Fowler’s work often feels like a perpetual search for images both past and present to articulate it, a process to capture what’s best expressed by one of the myriad mysterious statements thrown up by his films: “the flidaing half-life of someone else’s dreams”.”

James Lattimer1


“Each film is an elusive visual portrait of an individual tenement dweller, but instead of conventional documentary the films light on the tiny textural details of tenement life: light moving across a room, dust on a sill. Outside are the serried ranks of red sandstone, inside a hidden domestic world glimpsed obliquely. ‘It’s about these very uniform outsides and what's going on inside: the layers of time in the flats, in all the furniture and the fittings. When I made the films I was fascinated by how completely different every flat was, yet it’s the same light that goes through all the windows, the same street noise.’

The 31-year-old, who grew up in a tenement and returned to one as soon as he left the ‘Barratt home’ he shared at art college in Dundee, is fascinated by the hidden nature of life in a close. ‘In tenements we have to live with each other but we often don’t need to have much to do with each other. There are these very basic tacit rules, say, that you don’t throw your rubbish in the close. The way that you actually experience people is through the noise that you hear through the walls. When I lived there I was listening to all this completely weird far-out music. They must have been thinking “what is he doing in there because that sounded like a plane lifting off”. Meanwhile, I’m lying in bed trying to get to sleep, constructing all these narratives from the noise I'm hearing.’”

Moira Jeffrey2

UPDATED ON 07.10.2018