1996 - 26 mins

‘There is no longer wisdom, only the products of its decay remain; one is folly, which has all the comfort and assurance of wisdom without any of its substance, the other is the rumour of true things…’ (Walter Benjamin)

Most of the moving images produced for science, industry, commerce and medicine are seen only by a specialised audience, and disappear soon after they have been made. The Rumour of True Things is constructed entirely from these transient images – including computer games, weapons testing, production line monitoring, marriage agency tapes – in which traces of our society are indirectly, but strikingly etched. Within this moving image ephemera the film seeks a revelation of our society, not as we would like it to be seen, but as it will inevitably be seen by future generations – through those remnants of accidental statements which we have made and recorded.

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‘The images Bush utilises are the result of anonymous scientific processes which serve their original specialist purpose in industrial, military and social research… There is a great melancholia in this film. In most images humanity is already absent. Science is so self absorbed that the object of its research does not matter any longer. Life equals dream, reality equals trivial assumption, the particular ends up in terrifying generalisation.’ Lutz Becker

‘Amid sequences of the utterly banal are moments of exquisite beauty, as when a cloud of gas puffed into a chamber delicately unfurls as an intricate green plume. at other times the neutral silent stare of the mechanical eye is in sharp contrast to the human response the images provoke… The film doesn’t hurry and avoids eye-jarring juxtapositions. It quietly builds the mood of melancholy that is hinted at in the title… It’s a film that you and your domestic appliances might enjoy watching together. So let your vacuum cleaner stay up late. You never know, seeing things through the eyes of machines might give you a new insight on the world.’ Clive Davidson – The Guardian

‘A remarkable anthropological portrait of a society obsessed with imaging itself.’ Vikki Dempsey


(26 minutes, colour and B/W, 1996, 16mm – 16mm/DCP)

Produced, directed and edited by Paul Bush
Original soundtrack: Andy Cowton
Copyright Paul Bush 1996

A Paul Bush Production for the Arts Council of England and Channel 4

Grand Prix – 1996 Bonn Videonale
‘Music for Television’ 1997 Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels
‘The New McLennium’ 1998 Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
‘The New McLennium’ touring 1998-2000 (US and International)
‘Caught on Tape, Myths and Revisions’ 1998 Arizona State Art Museum
‘Rhetorics of Surveillance’  2000-2002 ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany
 ‘A Century of Artists’ Film in Britain’ 2003-2004 Tate Britain
 ‘Proof’ 2004-2005 ACMI, Melbourne