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Stuart Marshall

As such, the relationship of Distinct, The Streets of... or The Love Show to the viewer mirrors the quandary of the subject in ideology, incapable of speaking or operating outside of it, a subject represented by the staged frustrations of Marshall's characters/ciphers in the sit-com specific Distinct on their self-referential, futile quest to work out what there is to say. Marshall's engagement with ideology might share its source - the highly influential writings of Louis Althusser - with another filmmaker, Peter Gidal, but his answer to what there is to say is entirely different. Gidal denounces all sexual representation because he finds it inevitably ideological. Marshall to the contrary chose to make work in the field of representation, specifically about sexual representation, because he found it inevitably ideological, directly aligning his practice with a feminist strategy where "a cultural politics... would demand interventions at the ideological level in order to deconstruct the fictional worlds constructed by dominant modes of representation." ('Video: From Art to Independence)

Raymond Williams's momentous book Television: Technology and Cultural Form was published in 1974, in the midst of the cultural petitioning that marked television's transition from its 'first phase' in the UK from the 1940s to the 1970s into its 'second' and the introduction of Channel 4 in 1982. Stuart Marshall includes a reading of it in 'Video: From Art to Independence'. Williams attacks prevalent assumptions about the social effects of television by revising the prevalent theory of 'technological determinism'; in which technological development is re-cast from being simplistically asocial and self-generating, negatively impacting society with its results, into a process that is indivisibly connected to and driven by social and cultural development. For Williams television does not affect society in morally corrosive ways, but rather social (and/or state) intent, need and desires affect technological change. Marshall's Bright Eyes is an insertion into this equation, an intervention that functions on an ideological level through its participation in the construction and radical deployment of representations, i.e. it was made for television, broadcast in Channel 4's Eleventh Hour slot.

Stills from Distinct by Stuart Marshall (1979)
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