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George Barber
In light of this, and to consider the implications of and for such concerns in the medium of video, it's useful briefly to unpick the striking declaration made by Stephen Bode (writing in The Bracknell Video Magazine) that, with his Scratch work, Barber was the 'Henry Ford' of independent video.

Bode suggested that an independent, innovative maker had entered mainstream image-making with unprecedented impact. But the conjuring of Ford, of course, also suggests a technocratic delivery of uniform artefacts, somewhat dehumanising in both the making and reception. Actually, as Bode undoubtedly appreciates, Barber's approach is closer to that of a guild artisan than it is to the robotic arms of mass production. His inherent leaning towards the possibility of a provocative encounter with the majority world of image and technology begins with the way he deploys his tools in this most industry-shaped format.

Indeed, in the seemingly off-hand and relaxed tone of his persona, Barber comes across rather as a particularly convivial tour guide of detritus (and its attendant, surreptitious beauties) as well as an understated map-bearer of possible ways out of the socio-spiritual slum. Gleaning eagerly on the landfill sites of contemporary culture and overlooked, marginalised individual experience, he's in search of the shard - material, mental or metaphorical - that catches the sun on a brisk and bright day's outing. It might be the filmic or experiential equivalent of a tin can rusted almost completely to the colour of an old boot, but under the right gaze it becomes the snatch of gold dropped by a hightailing partisan after a rush run on the provincial vault. Either way, litter or loot, there is a moment of surprised glory in it. And that is what Barber is looking for.

Still from Walking Off Court by George Barber, 2003
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