Walking Swedenborg’s London screening

Screening of John Rogers film Walking Swedenborg's London at Swedenborg Hall, Bloomsbury 7th September 2023

Back on 7th September saw a wonderful event at Swedenborg Hall in Bloomsbury with a screening + Q&A of my film, Walking the visionary London of Emanuel Swedenborg. Back on a freezing January morning, with Iain Sinclair and Stephen McNeilly we retraced the footsteps of the hugely influential 18th Century scientist, philosopher, mystic and theologian. London played a huge role in the Swedenborg story, with Swedenborg Hall in Bloomsbury continuing his legacy.

Our walk started in Warner Street, Clerkenwell where Swedenborg had his most famous vision in a Chop House. We then walked on along the course of the River Fleet to Bakers Yard / Cold Bath Square where Swedenborg died in 1772. From here we continued along Saffron Hill and Hatton Garden to Fetter Lane, the site of the Moravian Chapel that Swedenborg attended. Our Swedenborg walk took us along Fleet Street and up Ludgate Hill to Paternoster Square linking together a series of locations associated with Swedenborg’s publishing and writing career.
We then headed out to East London, passing along Leman Street, Cable Street, past Wilton’s Music Hall to Swedenborg Gardens where Swedenborg was buried in the Swedish Church, and the whole story of Swedenborg’s head, which deserves a book in its own right.

Iain Sinclair, Stephen McNeilly and John Rogers at Swedenborg Hall 7th September 2023

Watching the icy clouds of breath in the film offered some faint relief from the sweltering temperatures in the hall. The discussion was illuminating as ever with Iain Sinclair and Stephen McNeilly. The bust of Swedenborg ever present looming over our shoulders, and I was tickled to discover that it was modelled on the wrong mummified head.

Iain Sinclair, Stephen McNeilly and John Rogers at Swedenborg Hall 7th September 2023

Fellowship Films at launch of Fellowship Square Walthamstow

Fellowship Square at Walthamstow Town Hall

Last weekend saw the launch of the newly designed Fellowship Square at Walthamstow Town Hall. The centrepiece being a new fountain and water jets which created great mirth amongst the children of the borough. I was delighted to be screening a couple of films in the Fellowship Films programme put together by the fantastic Stow Film Lounge.

Cycle-In Cinema at Pimp Hall Park, Chingford

Cycle-In Cinema

Marcus from Stow Film Lounge, producers of this wonderful event, commented that the hills of Chingford glittered like medieval villages in Tuscany. And there was magic, as well as mosquitos, at work in Pimp Hall Park on Sunday evening. It was the final night of Stow Film Lounge’s run of Cycle-In Cinema screenings at Pimp Hall, and they were screening the film they’d commissioned me to make about the park.

Cycle-In Cinema

There were a smattering of familiar faces amongst the socially distanced audience allocated a marked area on the grass. Plenty of people had indeed Cycled-In to the open air cinema. The Friends of Pimp Hall Park and Nature Reserve served popcorn in paper cones. There was delicious food from the Urban Turban. It was a truly wonderful evening.

Cycle-In Cinema

My son and I grabbed some samosas and onion bajis as the main attraction, The Personal History of David Copperfield, came onto the screen. Pole Hill loomed in the distance, looking on approvingly.

Art Assembly at Walthamstow Town Hall

Things to Do in Debden When You’re Dead

Brilliantly bizarre end to Art Assembly on Saturday in the Council Chamber at Walthamstow Town Hall. I’d been commissioned to make this film (Things to Do in Debden When You’re Dead) with theatre Director William Galinsky, who’d been asked to re-animate the corpse of William Morris. William Galinsky had responded by writing an unfilmable script – but the idea of attempting to shoot a zombie sci-fi Blader Runner film about William Morris’ News from Nowhere in a day, a week before the screening, was too tempting to turn down. Luckily artists Jessica Voorsanger and Bob and Roberta Smith agreed to take part – Bob playing himself having his chest ripped open by the sock puppet offspring of William Morris. And Jessica as herself who then is zapped into the future and returns as a cyborg Space Captain to wipe out the sockie Morrises and avenge her husband’s death – obviously. Brilliant satirist, Miriam Elia played a gentrifying alien arts administrator and my son, Oliver Rogers, who’d come along to help out with lighting and setting up the camera played opposite Miriam, doing a great job of improvising his lines.

Art Assembly

William Galinsky and the Intergalactic Arts Alliance

The film kicked off the session at the end of Art Assembly, a day-long programme of events around Walthamstow, as a provocation to debate the subject of whether ‘artists should try to change the world’. The panel was chaired by William Gallinsky with the two alien representatives of the Intergalactic Arts Alliance (or something like that) played by Ezra and Miriam Elia, who set the tone by stating that their interest in the arts was to push up property prices. It produced an fascinating debate that veered between absurdity, seriousness, righteous indignation, and incomprehensibility. Which is exactly how it should be.




The William Morris Resurrection at Art Assembly

Up till 3am last night finishing a short film about William Morris I’ve directed for this wonderful event tomorrow at Art Assembly, part of Waltham Forest Borough of Culture. So I’m a little tired today but excited to be screening something very different. Here’s the blurb for the event:

The William Morris Resurrection – Sat 23rd November 5-6pm, Walthamstow Town Hall – Art Assembly

A panel of experts, Two Aliens, One Universe, One Question: Should artists try to change the world?

Join us for the debate of the ages, where we discuss why artists can’t stop trying to save the world… Imagine if William Morris woke up 140 years in the future like the hero of his science fiction novel News from Nowhere…  Would he find the creative utopia he had dreamed of or would he be bitterly disappointed by the state of the world and of the arts community in particular?

Join us and arts professionals from all over time and space to explore the role of the artist past, present and future. The event includes the world premiere of a new short film by William Galinsky & John Rogers –  THINGS TO DO IN DEBDEN WHEN YOU’RE DEAD – featuring Miriam Elia, William Galinsky, Ollie Rogers, Bob & Roberta Smith, Jessica Voorsanger, an alien who thinks he’s Antony Gormley and a miniature Rutger Hauer.

The event includes contributions from some of the UK’s most vibrant artistic minds as well as some light relief at the end of an action packed Art Assembly. This event is presented as part of Art Assembly, a one-day festival to explore how art can make a difference.


Make Your Own Damn Art at Regent Street Cinema

Regent Street Cinema

Q&A – Travis Elborough, John Rogers, Jessica Voosanger, Bob and Roberta Smith

John Rogers

John Rogers and Travis Elborough

Regent Street Cinema

Regent Street Cinema

Q&A – Travis Elborough, John Rogers, Jessica Voosanger, Bob and Roberta Smith


Great evening last Friday at the screening of my documentary about Bob and Roberta Smith, Make Your Own Damn Art at presented by Heavenly Films at Regent Street Cinema. It was a wonderful experience to revisit a film that premiered in 2012 at the East End Film Festival. As Bob commented in the Q&A, it really captured a slice of time, filmed over 3 years between 2009-2012.

Art Assembly

The next day saw another chapter in my collaborations with Bob and his wife, artist Jessica Voorsanger, as we worked together on a slightly bonkers film for Art Assembly this Saturday 23rd November to be screened at The Resurrection of William Morris.

Video Strolls at Leytonstone Pop-Up Cinema

Video Strolls Leytonstone

Andy Howlett of Video Strolls – photo by Liberty Rowley

On the 3rd July we hosted the fantastic Video Strolls at Leytonstone Pop-Up Cinema with a programme of artists films related to ‘Quiet Spaces’. Andy Howlett and Liberty Rowley of Video Strolls suggested we start the event with a short wander around some of the quiet spaces of Leytonstone to set the tone.

Leytonstone bus station

‘Time Terminus’ – photo by Liberty Rowley

They were fascinated by the peculiar bus sculpture outside the Tube station (Time Terminus by Lodewyk Pretor), which prompted an interesting discussion about the legacy of the building of the M11 Link Road that was running beneath our feet. Luckily film-maker Ian Bourn was in attendance and was able to recount first-hand stories of the building of the road and the artist community that was destroyed in the process. Apparently the sculpture was made from left over bricks from the construction of the road. Paul Greenleaf was also on hand to add to talk about his beguiling film about the Link Road, I Will Become More Powerful Than You Can Possibly Imagine, that screened on the Leytonstone Arts Trail the following weekend.

Leytonstone Churchyard

Leytonstone churchyard


We then moved on to St. John’s churchyard where we looked at the Buxton family grave and talked about the ‘flying bombs’ that fell on Leytonstone during World War 2.

Matalan Leytonstone

From the churchyard we explored a different type of ‘quiet space’ in the carpark behind and beneath Matalan – once a rolling skating rink of some renown and a rather grand cinema, the Rink Picture Palace, which opened in 1911 on the same site.

Video Strolls Leytonstone

Leytonstone Pop-Up Cinema

The film programme at Leytonstone Library was very well received and we had a fascinating post-screening discussion with Liberty and Andy prompting some great contributions from the audience on the subject of place based film-making.

Thanks to Video Strolls for ambling to Leytonstone.



Leytonstone Pop-Up Cinema is the first Wednesday of the month at Leytonstone Library (except August and January) – sign up to our mailing list for news of future screenings.