Abstractions of Holderness

2017 // 12’30” // HD // UK

a collaborative work by
Esther Johnson and
Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs

Pete Wiggs

music performed by
BBC Concert Orchestra

cinematography and editing by
Esther Johnson

Performances with Live Music

Mind on the Run: The Basil Kirchin Story Musical Modernism: Will Gregory with BBC Concert Orchestra and Special Guests Hull City Hall, Queen Victoria Square, Hull HU1 3RQ 15:00 19.02.17

Cinema Screenings

Saint Etienne: Shorts Programme British Film Institute 13:00 05.09.21
Basil Kirchin Double Bill Regent Street Cinema, London 19:30 26.04.18
The Green Room @ The Black Box Belfast 15:00 10.09.17
ArtHouse Crouch End London 18:00 27.08.17
Jazz on Film 2017 HOME Manchester Jazz Festival 18:30 29.07.17


Hear and Now  BBC Radio 3 Basil Kirchin in Hull 22:00 04.03.17

Late Junction BBC Radio 3 Nick Luscombe with a Basil Kirchin tribute 17.02.17

BBC Radio 6 Music News Pete Wiggs and Bob Stanley discuss Abstractions of Holderness with Elizabeth Alker 07.02.17

Conference and Symposia

Hull: City of Cinema screening, and panel member, University of Hull, Middleton Hall, HU6 7RX 25.03.17


‘Gentle and contemplative in tone, it is beautifully shot by Johnson who makes real virtue of the sparse, down at heel East Yorkshire locations. Seizing upon the peninsula’s wilderness misrule, her eye is magnetically drawn to unusual or overlooked details, imbuing them with the patina of exiled melancholy. Fans of Patrick Keiller’s Robinson films will note the quiet desperation that hovers just beneath the film’s brilliant surfaces.’  Neil Mudd

‘beautiful short film providing a montage of the region where Kirchin spent part of his life’  KCOM

Northern Soul

Abstractions of Holderness is an audio-visual work inspired by Basil Kirchin’s 1970s residency in East Yorkshire. The film is shot on the Holderness coast, familiar territory from Esther’s childhood.

Kirchin, an English drummer and composer, is known as a pioneer of musique concrète and has been described by Brian Eno as, “a founding father of ambient”.

Basil Kirchin: the first painter of music

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Supported by Arts Council England, Hull2017 UK City of Culture