A man wearing a fez stands silently, staring at the camera.
He takes off his hat and says “Just like that”. We can’t hear him, but we can clearly see what he’s mouthing.
He repeats Tommy Cooper’s catchphrase, again and again, louder and louder as he becomes more anguished.
Then a disembodied hand comes into the shot to place the fez back on his head.
He stops shouting, mid-sentence, and goes back to staring at the camera.
This cycle is repeated for eight minutes.
The man in the film, called Just Like That, is Birmingham artist Dean Kelland. He was commissioned to subject a piece for a new exhibition staged in unusual locations.
About Town is a project devised by Birmingham Hippodrome and the Ikon Gallery, to show international video art but not where you’d normally find it.
The main location is Gallan Car Park in Hurst Street, opposite The Village pub, an indoor car park which will be filled with large screens to show the films.
Smaller monitors will also appear in the rooms of the Back To Backs and in the foyer, staircases and landings of the Hippodrome.
About Town takes place from November 13-16 as a series of free night-time screenings.
The films will explore city life, especially life in Birmingham, and reflect on how we are shaped by our surroundings.
New Street by Beat Streuli will display sequences of photographic stills of the Birmingham street across three large screens in the car park.
Gillian Wearing, the Birmingham Turner Prize-winning artist, will show the frenetic night-life of the city in her Broad Street film, shown over five screens.
Oliver Beer’s film Pay and Display documents his collaboration with the city’s Ex Cathedra choir to shoot a video in a stairwell in the Pershore Street car park.
Adel Abdessemed’s Happiness in Mitte, shown in the Hippodrome, depicts stray cats drinking, one by one, from bowls of milk left by the artist in Berlin’s Mitte district.
In Hiccup #2, Canadian artist Kelly Mark documents a five-day performance on the steps of the old Birmingham Library.
And on the huge new digital screen attached to the front of the theatre, Best Day, Worst Day by Perry Roberts includes a series of texts and live feed from cameras on the street.
Junebum Park’s Parking will be projected, appropriately enough, on to the floor of the car park.
Other films include Marjolijn Dijkman’s Wandering Through the Future and Nightingale by Birmingham-born Grace Ndiritu, exploring racial stereotyping.
Paul Kaynes, the Hippodrome’s creative programme director, says: “The idea for About Town came on the back of our Illuminate project last year.
“We held a light festival in and around Hurst Street, showing the lanterns of the Chinese terracotta warriors.
“It was a huge success with more than 10,000 people coming to see it.
“So we thought about what else we could put on in these unusual spaces.
“The idea is that people can just turn up and wander around the sites. They may be in the theatre and see there is more to look at down Hurst Street.
“It’s the first time we’ve worked with Ikon on a project but they are interested in the same things as us, reaching new audiences and taking art out of a gallery setting.”
Dean Kelland’s Just Like That will be shown in the intimate surroundings of one of the Back to Back rooms, where there will only be space for two or three people to watch at one time.
On leaving Great Barr School, Dean studied at Walsall College of Art and Wolverhampton University.
He is now a senior lecturer in art at Wolverhampton University while also taking his PhD at St Martin’s College in London.
Aged 41 and living in Sutton Coldfield, his film work is influenced by the sitcoms and comedians he watched growing up.
The Aston Villa fan says: “I started off with Tony Hancock, as he’s from Birmingham and the statue of him became a prominent part of my experience walking through the city.
“The first thing I did was to do a week-long performance as Tony Hancock. I went to Bognor, where he filmed The Punch and Judy Man, and stayed in the same hotel room he was in.
“I booked in as Hancock and was him through the stay. I also reenacted some of the scenes from the film in the appropriate locations.
“My next projects were based on The Likely Lads and Steptoe and Son.
“In the Steptoe film I am trying to perfect an impression of Harold. I am repeating his saying ‘You dirty old man’ but failing to get it right and it becomes more uncomfortable to watch as it goes on.
“I love it that people have opposing views of Just Like That. Some people find it funny while others find it very sad and difficult to watch.
“I see comedy as like a skin. We’re all familiar with the exterior, but what I’m attempting to do is look at the bloody underside of the skin, so you see the comedic and the tragic simultaneously.
“I’m interested in our collective experience, I’m not into the obscure. I’m more comfortable using references and catchphrases that people are familiar with.
“With Just Like That, it’s to do with control. The figure has the control to speak when he removes the hat, but then he loses control as he desperately tries to be heard.
“When the hat is replaced he switches back to the deadpan expression.”
*About Town takes place from November 13-16 as a series of free night-time in the rooms of the Back To Backs and in the foyer, staircases and landings of the Hippodrome. Visit website here for more details.