Frances Scott



Opening 20 June 2018, 6–8pm
Exhibition continues 21 June — 22 July 2018
Open Wed–Sun, 12–5pm

In conversation with Frances Scott, Chu-Li Shewring and Karen Di Franco Tue 17 July 2018 7-9pm 

‘Diviner’ takes its title from a short documentary ‘Diviner Water in Luppitt’ (1976), housed in the South West Film and Television Archive (SWFTA) in Plymouth. ‘Diviner’ is a term originating from the 15th century to describe a person who might use special powers to predict future events, or for someone who seeks out water under the ground with the use of a divining or dowsing rod. 

Ideas of searching for meaning in matter score the work, structured as a visual and aural script, in which a conversation occurs between voices and incidental sounds in the original recordings. ‘Diviner’ is formed almost entirely from moving image material held at SWFTA, apart from the opening sequence, which was filmed on 16mm in the archives. Here, the telecine process is recorded – the transfer of analogue film to a digital format – of a section of footage used within ‘Diviner’ itself. Archival material includes ‘behind the scenes’ on other productions in the South West, amongst them: ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ (1967), ‘Straw Dogs’ (1971), ‘The Shout’ (1978), and ‘Dracula’ (1979); to science education films about the cosmos, news reports of UFO sightings, demonstrations against education funding cuts, tattooed memorials, natural disasters and cultic practices.

‘Diviner’ meditates on our understanding of the transmitted image, and suggests that history, rather than occurring within a linear narrative, is cyclical and bound to repeat. In this way, the past is a spectral scribe to the present, where the archive becomes a sentient, conversant being. 

‘Diviner’ (2017), 22 min, 55 sec. Single channel film, 16mm film and betacam video transferred to digital, colour, mono. Trailer (30 seconds), film stills courtesy of the artist. 

Photography: Glenn Michael Harper


Frances Scott works with moving image, presented through screenings, installations, events and publications. Her work considers material that exists around the periphery of the cinematic production and its apparatus, proposing that a film might be composed of its metonymic fragments. Recent exhibitions and screenings include: Tate St. Ives, Cornwall (2018); Annely Juda Fine Art with The Russian Club, London (2018); CloseUp Film Centre, London (2018); Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2017); Whitechapel Gallery (with Phil Coy) (2017); Peninsula Arts and South West Film & Television Archive, Plymouth (2017); Focal Point Gallery, Southend (2016); ‘London Open’ triennial, Whitechapel Gallery (2015); and ‘Selected III’ videoclub / FLAMIN screenings in the USA including Anthology Film Archives, New York, Seattle International Film Festival, and LA Film Forum (2014), and in the UK (2013). Since 2012 her practice has included CATALOG, a collaborative project with Joyce Cronin. Frances was recipient of the Stuart Croft Foundation Moving Image Award (2017), and graduated from the Courtauld Institute of Art (2003) and Wimbledon College of Art (2010). She is currently working on research towards a long-form film commissioned by TACO!, a new project space in Thamesmead, South London and is artist in residence with the ‘Moving Image Research Centre’ [MIRC] at University of East London.

This exhibition is generously supported by Arts Council England.