Professor Stephen Johnstone

Stephen’s work is concerned with the relationship between pre-cinematic spectacle, immersive space and abstract film.

Staff details


Professor in Fine Art




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Professor Stephen Johnstone has worked in collaboration with Graham Ellard since 1993. Their work is concerned with the relationship between pre-cinematic spectacle and immersive space and abstract film and cinematic spectacle. This body of work exists at the intersection of architecture and film and draws on and emphasises the architectural qualities of the projected video image to create an immersive and dynamic space that the spectator experiences as a kind of performer. Most recently, their work has engaged with the conventions of representing architectural space in film.

Academic qualifications

  • Phd, Middlesex Polytechnic, 'Anecdotes of Romantic Failure: Issac D'Israeli's 'Dissertation on Anecdotes', 'Characteristics of Genius', and 'Calamities of Authors'', 1994    
  • M/Phil Research, Middlesex  Polytechnic, 'Failure and the Romantic Image of the Artist', 1991 (funded by British Academy Research Scholarship)  
  • BA Contemporary Cultural Studies, Middlesex Polytechnic, 1986
  • Cert Ed Fine Art  Goldsmiths College, University of London, 1982

Professional projects

Stephen's work with Graham Ellard has been commissioned by De La Warr Pavillion, Cornerhouse and Film and Video Umbrella, London. He received a public art commission along with dePaor Architects in 2001 for 'Holding Pattern', an A13 Artscape Project at the Lodge Avenue Interchange in Barking, Essex. His work has been funded by Film London, the London Arts Board, the Arts Council of England and the London Film and Video Development Agency.

His group exhibitions with Ellard have been featured around the world, including the Photographer's Gallery, the ICA and Architectural Association in London, the Van Alen Institute in New York, Bregenzer Kunstverein in Austria, the V2 Gallery in Rotterdam, the Stockholm House of Culture in Sweden, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Australia. They have been funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts, among others.



Publications and research outputs


Johnstone, Stephen and Ellard, Graham. 2009. Proposal for an Unmade Film (Set in The Future). In: "'In Search of the Unknown'", NIMK, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Johnstone, Stephen and Ellard, Graham. 2006. Motion Path. In: "Motion Path", De La Warr Pavilion, 4/1/2006 - 7/31/2006.

Johnstone, Stephen and Ellard, Graham. 2001. Gymnasion. In: "Gymnasion", Bregenzer Kunstverein, Palais Turn and Taxis, 7/14/2001 - 9/2/2001.

Exhibition Catalogue

Johnstone, Stephen and Ellard, Graham. 1995. 'Passagen'.

Johnstone, Stephen. 1995. The Alien and the Domestic. Exhibition Catalogue.


Johnstone, Stephen; Ellard, Graham and Thatcher, Tony. 2016. Edge Balance. In: "Edge Balance", Turner Contemporary, Margate, Kent, United Kingdom, Turner Contemporary, July 2016 - Laban studio Theatre, February 2017.


Johnstone, Stephen and Ellard, Graham. 2006. The Bomb Interview: Anthony McCall with Graham Ellard and Stephen Johnstone. Bomb Magazine., 97, pp. 65-75. ISSN 07433204

Johnstone, Stephen and Ellard, Graham. 1997. Photographic project. COIL, 4,

Johnstone, Stephen and Gange, John. 1993. 'Believe Me. Everybody Has Something Pierced in California : A Conversation with Nayland Blake'. New Formations: A Journal of Culture, Theory, Politics, 19, ISSN 0950-2378


Graham, Ellard and Johnstone, Stephen. 2015. Anthony McCall: Notebooks and Conversations. Farnham: Lund Humphries. ISBN 9781848221697

Johnstone, Stephen and Ellard, Graham. 1998. Passagen (Electric art) CD-ROM. Ellipsis Architectural Press/Film and Video Umbrella, with assistance from the Arts Council of England. ISBN 9781899858163

Book Section

Johnstone, Stephen and Ellard, Graham. 2008. Motion Path. A Building Films Itself. In: Frank Eckardt, ed. Media and Urban Space: Understanding, Investigating and Approaching Mediacity. 1 Berlin: Frank and Timme. Verlag fur Wissenschaftliche Literatur, Berlin., pp. 181-200. ISBN 978-3-86596-142-6

Johnstone, Stephen. 1995. Walter Benjamin’s Panorama. In: Charlotte Pöchhacker, ed. film+arc. graz, 2nd biennale of film und architektur. Graz. ISBN 39500284-1-2

Johnstone, Stephen. 1993. 'The Politics of Seduction'. In: Mike Gane, ed. Baudrillard Live: Selected Interviews. London: Routledge, pp. 152-155. ISBN 978-0415070386


Johnstone, Stephen and Ellard, Graham. 2017. The Pavilion: Complex Topography. Folkestone Fringe 2017.

Edited Book

Johnstone, Stephen, ed. 2008. The Everyday. London and Cambridge, MA: Whitechapel Gallery/The MIT Press. ISBN 9780262600743


Johnstone, Stephen and Ellard, Graham. 2015. For An Open Campus.

Johnstone, Stephen and Ellard, Graham. 2013. Everything Made Bronze.

Johnstone, Stephen and Graham, Ellard. 2010. Things to Come.