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17th October 2003 at 01:00
Tom Deveson reviews art videos from Channel 4

School improvement" takes on a physical meaning in Joinedupdesign (pound;19.99) a set of 25-minute films for key stage 4 pupils. They can see their contemporaries joining forces with well-known designers to change environments that have become boring or obstructive. As clients, the pupils need to present a brief and then modify it in the light of business considerations. As a Paul Smith school uniform develops, or a crowded dining hall becomes a place to enjoy eating in, or a sixth-form classroom grows into a place for young adults, viewers share the sense of inspiration becoming reality.

Handmade 3 (pound;14.99) is a series of short films for all ages. There's no commentary, simply sequences of pictures that show people working with their hands; sometimes they use tools as well. The materials are as varied as the people exploiting them. Glass is heated and twisted until a swan emerges from the flame; a kite is cut from cloth and then tumbles energetically about the sky; tiny bears and camels are shaped and placed in the eye of a needle. The deft fingers we see are old and young, black and white, female and male. Each film is an inspiring testament to the engagement of skill with imagination.

The Mix: Express Yourself (pound;14.99) shows five Scottish artists in 15-minute films, though the children they collaborate with are equally important. The artists talk about the main influences on their work; the children contribute to new pieces which we see being created. Line drawings acquire colours and turn into stories; photographs are digitally manipulated to evoke dreams; giant inflatables brighten an enclosed space; collage materials evolve into a huge abstract; a paper village floats across a reservoir. Words such as "impasto" or "commission" gain a concrete meaning, but language is secondary to the processes whereby ideas and feelings take on visual form.

Children of 11 and over can have endless fun with Art Explorer CD-Rom (pound;24.99), painlessly learning many different ways of organising patterns and shapes on-screen.

Tel: 08701 246 444 www.channel4.comlearningshop

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