OKO, founded in 2009, is Joanna Byrne and Mark Pickles, both of whom work independently and collaboratively in experimental film, live cinema performance and film installation.  For words and pictures about each filmmaker see the OKO filmmakers section.

As well as making and screening film, OKO runs creative filmmaking workshops to help ensure that film remains a viable medium for artists and filmmakers working today.  See the Workshops section for more details...  OKO is also involved with Unravel, an epic touring project founded by Chris Paul Daniels and Maria Anastassiou, which aims to create the longest hand-painted 16mm film in Britain through a programme of workshops all across the UK.

Mark and Jo have been working with film (super 8/16mm), video, live performance and visuals since 2003 - holding residencies on the Leeds D.I.Y. scene at club nights and gigs. They have created and performed live projections for acts such as Vibracathedral Orchestra, Damo Suzuki, David Thomas Broughton, Scatter and the Inecto School.

They have screened and performed their own work as part of self-organised film events: with EXP24 (see below), in partnership with organisations such as Leeds International Film Festival, Light Night Leeds, Lumen, East Street Arts, Ways of Looking, Ladyfest Leeds and Short Circuits; and as part of OKO film/performance events including Cinema Povera and Cinema Corporel (with Art in Unusual Spaces). They have also exhibited at Sheffield DocFest, The Exploding Cinema [London], Slack Video [Hull] and the Plaza Principle [Leeds].

History is written by those with pens

In 2006 Mark and Jo met up with a bunch of other filmmakers in Leeds through volunteering at the Evolution festival. We were inspired by being involved in the experimental screenings and workshops (especially Nowhere Lab's super 8 shooting and hand-processing workshop).

And so EXP24 was born. All the group made films and worked with super 8, and most of us had been involved in live projections/visuals.. 

EXP24 event [2008] image by Dave Lynch
As well as meeting up to explore ideas and nurture each other as filmmakers and performers, EXP24 wanted to create a live space for experimenting with and experiencing film that would be informal and social - more like a gig than a traditional cinema screening. We also wanted to make a space for showing super 8 and 16mm films - forms often neglected in favour of digital video.

EXP24 event [2008] image by Tom Knapp
From 2006-2009, EXP24 staged experimental film, video and performance events around the city  - at venues like the Brudenell Social Club, the Dark Arches (Granary Wharf), Holy Trinity Church, the Moor Music Festival, The Adelphi, East Street Arts and The Victoria Hotel...

EXP24 event [2008] image by Dave Lynch
An EXP24 event was characterised by what could only be described as a kind of organised chaos.  We encouraged audience interaction and participation; embraced mistakes and "happy" accidents as part of the process; attempted to demystify (expose and explode) usual modes of projection to open up the event and create an atmosphere that was open, live and exciting. 

EXP24 event [2008] image by Dave Lynch
EXP24 event [2008] image by Jon Wakeman
The traditional cinema space of regimented rows facing a single screen was eschewed in favour of projections onto multiple surfaces; fragmented super 8 loops, slides were projected amongst video and expanded film installations, cables spilling out - the apparatus on show.

Into 2008-09 we abandoned the idea of a fixed screening programme, instead allowing the event to remain open to experimentation (see EXP24 @ Kinetika! and the EXP24 Launch at East Street Arts).

EXP24 Proto Film Lab 
In 2008, EXP24 started running super 8/16mm direct film workshops to share filmmaking skills with new and experienced filmmakers alike.  The group found a new home at East Street Arts Patrick Studios in June 2008, and pooled their skills and resources to start building a proto film lab.

As well as running workshops from the lab and darkroom space at East Street Arts, we developed and delivered accessible introduction to super 8 workshops for Leeds College of Art and Design and the University of Leeds.

EXP24 also developed a camera-less filmmaking workshop, loosely based on a Cucinema hand-painted film workshop that we'd all attended at Evolution 2007.

The aim of these low cost workshops was to demonstrate how accessible film can be; giving people the practical skills and knowledge to shoot, hand-process, edit and project their own films.  Having a base at East Street Arts also allowed us to reach more people and start to build a community in Leeds around experimental film.

For more on what EXP24-ers are doing now, see the links below....

# Archive: EXP24 Photos
# Archive: EXP24 website
# Chris Hall: Real-Time [Filmmaker, live cinema performer]
# Chris Paul Daniels [Artist, filmmaker, & UNRAVEL founder]
# Dave Lynch [Artist/Director/Inventor]
# Freya [Artist & filmmaker]
# Joanna Byrne: OKO [Filmmaker, live cinema performer, curator]
# Mark Pickles: OKO [Filmmaker, live cinema performer, curator]
# Martha Jurksaitis: Cherry Kino [Filmmaker, programmer]
# Micheale Spessa [Artist & Curator]