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'A Listening Eye: The Films of Mike Dibb' on view online at Whitechapel Gallery
John Berger filming Pig Earth, 1979. Courtesy Mike Dibb.

LONDON.- Whitechapel Gallery announced the launch of ‘A Listening Eye: The Films of Mike Dibb’, a series of online film screenings and events celebrating the work of multi-award-winning documentary filmmaker, Mike Dibb (b. 1940, UK). Launched online, the series features over 50 of Dibb’s films and provides a rare opportunity to explore the work of a maker for whom culture and society, art and life are indivisible

Dibb is perhaps best known for Ways of Seeing (1972), his pioneering and vastly influential television essay on art and society made with John Berger, but he has directed dozens of important films in a career spanning six decades. These include portrait films featuring figures as diverse as Salvador Dali, Miles Davis, Stuart Hall, David Hockney, Keith Jarrett, CLR. James, Elmore Leonard, Federico García Lorca, Edward Said and Barbara Thompson.

The pioneering work undertaken by Dibb across the landscape of the television documentary format operates at the forefront of radical, intellectual ideas, combined with a startling facility for empathetic storytelling. Diverse by nature, Dibb’s work has traversed the fields of post-colonial literature, improvisatory jazz, and the very nature of concepts such as creativity and play, while always remaining grounded in everyday experience.

Now in his 80th year, and completing a new multi-dimensional work about art and resilience in the cruel US lockdown of long-term solitary confinement, he is a truly collaborative and engaged maker, whose commitment and humane attention are as wide-ranging as his curiosity. Dibb’s films showcase a dynamic and nimble mind at work, consistently in pursuit of meaning in a manner which is never dogged but always exhilarating.

11 film programmes will be shown online for one week at a time, each available every Friday. These are The Play of Ideas (8 – 28 January); The Arts of Improvisation (29 January – 25 February) and Conversation Pieces (26 February – 26 March).

Accompanying the films will be three live online events featuring Mike Dibb in dialogue with acclaimed conversationalists and writers, including Yasmin Gunaratnam (Thursday 21 January), Geoff Dyer (Thursday 18 February) and Lisa Appignanesi OBE (Thursday 18 March).

A Listening Eye: The Films of Mike Dibb is dedicated to the memory of Louis Benassi (1961 ­– 2020), filmmaker, comrade, friend.

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