Video playlists from the most interesting people in the creative industries. We are the Desert Island Discs of internet video.

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Matthew The Horse

Leeds-based illustrator, educator and poet, Matthew ‘The Horse’ Hodson has compiled a list of videos that explore the motivation behind creativity, the value of critical thinking and the importance of doing things for their own sake. He sums it up as “the connection between the subconscious and the doing”.

Matthew has featured in Creative Review, Its Nice That, Hunter magazine and lots more. He can currently be found at Leeds Art University where, as well as being a senior lecturer on the illustration course, he is researching the role of improvisation, performance and the sketchbook.

Journeys into the Outside with Jarvis Cocker (1998) 50 MINUTES

Matthew The Horse: Everything about this is fantastic; the music, the characters, the outfits and that 90s grain. Art documentaries can often be someone like Andrew Graham-Dixon ramming things down your throat, whereas here, Jarvis Cocker has a bit of a proto-Louis Theroux about him. He’s genuine and seems at ease, and so do the people he’s speaking to. I think it’s important that it all takes place in people’s homes because it emphasises the idea that they are doing something simply because doing it brings them pleasure. It can be difficult nowadays to appreciate doing something without the need to externalise it for validation of some kind.

It’s amazing to see just how much freedom and budget there was available for a late-night documentary on channel 4 and the fact that it wasn’t made to be relentlessly promoted or even shouted about. The ability to be authentic becomes harder and harder as people become more and more aware of, or intent on, how they are perceived. This whole show really emphasises the importance of doing things for their own sake: that connection between the subconscious and the doing.

Graham Obree vs Chris Boardman Documentary. Battle of the Bikes (1994) 55 MINUTES

MTH: I was shown this by a colleague a few years ago. It’s the kind of thing that Youtube’s algorithms rarely turn up, so whenever I get a good recommendation, I jump on it.

Chris Boardman was embracing sports science but it was early days so it was really only marginal gains. It meant someone like Graham Obree, was competing on an almost level playing field. The idea of outsiders is appealing to me and this film is a beautiful example of a renegade approach to design and competition. Graham Obree’s bike design was really radical and although it’s based on his experience, it’s very intuitive.

He seems like someone who needs to be out there pedalling to understand themselves better. The idea that the output needs to be sustained in order to get out of your head is something I speak to my students about as a means of encouraging creativity. I’ve spoken to other designers about activities that require a sustained output and I think that’s one thing that attracts me to things like cycling and running.

It’s also just a great watch. It has all the tropes of the classic 90s sports movie, with the underdog coming up against the number one, building towards a showdown at the end.

Keisuke Hashimoto. Stone Skimming in Japan 1 MINUTE

MTH: At the same time that this video amuses me, it really soothes me. When I’m drawing or writing I can’t really listen to lyrics so it was a toss-up between this and a mountain stream on a continuous loop.

I really like the way the shots are composed. It’s a beautiful thing. The static camera takes it all in; the unusual technique on the throw (almost like a little dance), the path of the stone cutting a diagonal across the square frame. The aesthetic really appeals to me, and the music is excellent. It’s a shame I can’t throw for toffee.

Adam Curtis. Do we really want change? 1 HOUR 17 MINUTES

MTH: I was racking my brain for clips that had had an impact on me. This conversation stuck with me, I recommend it to people all the time.

Increasingly I find this kind of long-form discussion really useful for unpacking the complexities of where we are today. Talking about revolution and the intricacies of geo-politics in this format is really useful for me, as I try to make sense of it all. There’s a need for longer discourse to explore these complex themes, to help develop an understanding: understanding the history of events to give some perspective, so people can see that the times we are living through are not happening without context or precedent.

It’s from quite early on in Russell Brand’s evolution as a podcaster so he’s still making jokes and being funny and the levity helps to decompress from the heavier stuff. Adam Curtis is really interesting, he and Russell seem to have a peculiar, sweet fondness for each other which is charming throughout.

I’m always talking to my students about the need for critical thinking and where you source your creative ideas. It helps you to adjust your lens. I try to remind myself of that too. Trying to make sense of new ideas to unpack in your own work is crucial to its development. If one idea sticks with you and you write it down, or do a drawing or make a diagram of it, it can spark something new. This kind of discussion is great for that. I’d encourage everyone to give it a listen and perhaps do some drawing alongside it as well.

A Drawing Timelapse without Time Lapse equipment 30 Seconds

MTH: Procreate raises philosophical questions about creating art. It can be a peculiar step into the valley of the uncanny. If someone does a nice, representational drawing of a horse in Procreate and it gets lots of positive affirmation online, does that mean it’s what we should all be aspiring to? Hegemony looms. I think younger creatives can be in danger of losing a connection to their craft and the speculation inherent within. This video is a nice satire of what technology is doing to the cult of making things. I’m not sure about the over fetishisation of the creative process, imagine if all our tools offered the option to rewatch what we used it for?

Follow Matthew on Instagram at @matthewthehorse, and check out his website here

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