Pilgrimage From Scattered Points, Luke Fowler (45mins, UK, 2007)

Pilgrimage From Scattered Points

In his latest documentary film piece, Fowler outlines the history of The Scratch Orchestra, composer Cornelius Cardew’s free-thinking grouping of musicians, non-musicians and other interested parties.


Using archive footage – much of it culled from Hanne Boenisch’s 1971 television film Journey To The North Pole – alongside interviews, rostrum shots of ephemera and Super-8 vignettes, Pilgrimage From Scattered Points is at once a coherent narrative essay on the Orchestra’s history, and a fluid portrait in film of Cardew and his confreres. Divided into seven sections, the film runs from the group’s formation in 1969 to its rancorous split in the mid-1970s, by which time tensions between two factions, fostered by divisive debates on the function of art – a Maoist tendency who argued for making music to serve the people and a ‘bourgeoisie idealist’ camp devoted to formal experiment – had risen to boiling point. Along the way, we learn that the Scratch Orchestra – defined in their ‘Draft Manifesto’ as ‘a large number of enthusiasts pooling their resources (not primarily material resources) and assembling for action (music-making, performances, edification)’ – improvised from visual scores, including in one case a dog-eared copy of the Radio Times, and took a revolutionary approach to music making in more ways than one….

text by Jack Mottram –


Project Scratch Musics , Cardew / Fowler / Mattin
Artists Luke Fowler
Year 2007
Origin UK
Duration 45 mins