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Introduction
1997
September

The LUX Centre opens, Hoxton Square, London. Incorporates London Electronic Arts and the London Film-makers' Co-op

The LUX Centre for Film, Video and New Media opened in Hoxton Square, September 1997 with new works by artists including Jane & Louise Wilson and Angela Bulloch and a specially commissioned project by Ian Bourne, The Conservatory, a temporary structure modelled on Victorian architecture which housed a screening programme of works by Bourne and his fellow HOUSEWATCH collaborators. The LUX Centre, an early Lottery Capital Development, had arisen primarily out of the pragmatic need to consolidate the funding and centralise the resources of the London Film Makers Co-op and London Electronic Arts (formerly London Video Access). The LFMC had been founded in 1966 as a radical co-operative, promoting the creation and distribution of experimental film; the LEA had been founded in 1976 by David Hall to promote the distribution and exhibition of artist's video and had a greater emphasis on individual artists work. The Centre housed and distributed the archives of both organisations, along with a cinema (run by the LFMC), film and video production and post-production facilities and a gallery (run by LEA). The LUX Centre ran many successful events including the Pandaemonium Festival, along with offering screening programmes, exhibitions, artist's workshops and advice for galleries working with moving image. The LUX made some forays into the digital arts such as Net.Art but this was never seriously commissioned, collected or distributed. Although popular, the LUX Centre did not always achieve consistently high visitor figures and in addition, failed to generate a regular income, partly due to the lack of interest in hiring the video editing facilities since this technology was now provided by home computers. Whilst the Centre opened in 1997, the two organisations housed within it did not officially merge until 1999 and by this time the organisation was already seriously in debt: while the LUX Centre was purpose built, the organisation was a tenant in the building. The rapid regeneration of Hoxton led to rent prices more than trebling and this became a key factor in the eventual demise of the LUX as a venue based organisation in 2002.

Marie-Anne McQuay

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Conservatory, a site specific installation by Housewatch in Hoxton Square for the opening of the Lux Centre.

Courtesy: Ian Bourn
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