LEK AND THE DOGS (2017)
Director: Andrew Kötting
Executive Producers: Lizzie Francke, Ian Berg, Christopher J. Reynolds
Producers: Nick Taussig, Paul Van Carter
Assistant Producer: Jan P. Dahlgren
Production Manager: Jan P. Dahlgren
Production Accountants/Auditors: Nyman Libson Paul
Getty Archive Researcher: Lisa Clayton
Additional Archive Researcher: David Leister
Script Editor: Vicki Jung
Words: Hattie Naylor, Andrew Kötting
Inspired by the stage play Ivan and the Dogs by: Hattie Naylor
Director of Photography: Nick Gordon Smith
Special Effects: Zeroh
Editor: Andrew Kötting
Music: Jem Finer
Sound Design: Philippe Ciompi, Andrew Kötting
Sound Recording: Nick Gordon Smith, Andrew Kötting
Sound Mix: Philippe Ciompi
Produced by Salon Pictures
Lek and the Dogs (2017) is the final part of Kötting’s Earthworks Trilogy, along with two other feature films, This Filthy Earth (2001) and Ivul (2009). It develops Kötting’s existing body of work which is underpinned by exploration of the psyche and its geography and it furthers Kötting’s research that pushes at the frontiers of the cinematic experience.
Kötting’s research is based upon concepts from psycho- geography, ‘the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals’ (Debord, 1955). Kötting explores the nature of performance within public space, frequently through journeys, both into the
landscape or into the mind.
He also draws upon the related field of hauntology, aligning his work to the writings of Mark Fisher and his interpretations of Jacques Derrida. Both ‘see history as . . . characterized by repetition and disruption, as the past recurrently irrupts into the present, forcing us to reconsider events and ideas we might have regarded as safely consigned to the past’ (Coverley, 2020). Memory rupture, existential angst, nostalgia and the persistence of the past are common themes within all Kötting’s work, as is language. The Lek character speaks in an invented language, created by Kötting and French performance artist and actor Xavier Tchili, who plays Lek. The film explores new, invented and fictional languages and celebrates ‘different’ voices.
Kötting’s outputs are often made in collaboration with other artists, including Iain Sinclair, Jem Finer, Toby Jones, Alan Moore, Claudia Barton, McGillivray, Isabel Skinner and Glenn Whiting. Lek and the Dogs builds upon this collaborative practice. It grew out of a project which was initially instigated by the BFI Film Fund and SALON Pictures to collaborate
with the writer Hattie Naylor to adapt her 2010 prize-winning play Ivan and the Dogs for cinema. Xavier Tchili is a regular collaborator, and appeared in Kötting’s earlier films in the Earthworks Trilogy.
Lek and the Dogs was conceived as a crossover project between narrative film, contemporary art, performance and documentary. The film draws on a range of techniques, genres and material, including home movies, archive footage, interviews and voiceover to produce a montage essay on the state of the world. Kötting’s research is developed through the spillage between artistic forms; the Lek and the Dogs feature film led to the short film, Their Rancid Words Stagnate Our Ponds. Moving beyond film, a chapter in Kötting’s Earthworks Bookwork is devoted to Lek and the Dogs. This presents a collage of materials which articulate the filmmaking and research process alongside written contributions which further develop its analysis and insights.