Jeff Keen (1923–2012) was a pioneer of experimental film whose rapid-fire animations, multiple screen projections and raucous performances redefined multimedia art in Britain.
Keen was a veteran of the Second World War, and his work powerfully evokes the violence, colour, speed and noise of the 20th century. He transformed cinema into a riotous collage of comics, drawings, B-movie posters, plastic toys, burning props and extravagant costumes. His early 8 mm and 16 mm films are built for speed, combining footage of Beat-era motifs – jazz, motorbikes and car culture – with experimental animations in which the achievements and atrocities of the 20th century seem to flash by within a few short, cacophonous seconds. A single frame could not contain the frenzied energy of Keen’s imagination, and by the mid-1960s he began to use multiple screens and live action in presentations of his work.