Tate Modern Course

Introduction to Artists’ Moving Image

Ewa Partum, Active Poetry 1971–3. Tate. © Ewa Partum

Ewa Partum, Active Poetry 1971–3. Tate. © Ewa Partum

Gain unique insights into artists’ use of film, video and digital media

This four-week course offers an introductory survey of the main debates and crucial developments in the history of artists working with moving images.

Participants will view and discuss key works in the Tate Collection, as well as the work of lesser-known figures, moving from the avant-garde origins of artists’ cinema in the 1920s to contemporary practices emerging today.

Led by independent film curator Herb Shellenberger, the course also features contributions from Tate staff including Andrea Lissoni, Senior Curator, International Art (Film), and Carly Whitfield, Assistant Curator (Film). The course will finish with a special guest talk by a contemporary artist working with moving images.

No prior experience or knowledge are necessary. The course will involve screenings of Tate Collection works in the Starr Cinema, visits to the collection displays at Tate Modern, including works installed in The Tanks, and a tour of the exhibition Joan Jonas.


Week 1: Avant-garde and Experimental Film

Charting a course through experimental practices from the avant-garde films of the 1920s and 30s, through the Co-op movements of the 1960s and the ways artists use celluloid film today, as well as a foundational discussion of terms and definitions.

Week 2: Expanded Cinema, Installation and Performance

Starting with 1960s expanded cinema practices, artists move away from the screen and find creative ways to project and intervene with moving images.

Week 3: From Video to Digital

The emergence of video and later digital moving images opened up new possibilities concerning what artists could do and what moving images could be. We’ll look at the similarities and differences between these two technologies.

Week 4: Contemporary Artists’ Moving Image

Exploring the most recent generation of moving image artists, particularly with a focus on where they situate their practice: in legacies of cinema, fine art, performance, electronic art or elsewhere.


Herb Shellenberger is a curator and writer originally from Philadelphia and based in London. He has curated screenings at institutions such as Arnolfini, Light Industry, Lightbox Film Center, LUX , New York University and Taipei Center for Contemporary Arts. Since 2016, he has been Associate Programmer for Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival (Berwick-upon-Tweed, UK). He is a graduate of the Central Saint Martins/LUX MRes Moving Image programme, has lectured on film and contemporary art at museums, universities and art spaces, and has written for publications including Art-Agenda, Art Monthly and The Brooklyn Rail. He curated the series Independent Frames: American Experimental Animation in the 1970s + 1980s which premiered at Tate Modern and is touring internationally. In 2018, he curated an exhibition at The Maslow Collection (Scranton, USA) and co-programmed (with Almudena Escobar López) the Flaherty Seminar series Common Visions at Anthology Film Archives, New York.

This event has been provided by Tate Gallery on behalf of Tate Enterprises LTD

Tate Modern

Starr Cinema

London SE1 9TG
Plan your visit


Every Monday at 18.45–20.45

11 June – 2 July 2018