The Soft Body with Many Heads
With the title referring to Jean Baudrillard's seminal text The Ecstasy of Communication describing the privatisation of public space and the disappearance of boundaries protecting private space, this video aims to address the issues involving contemporary public space. Now that the occupy movement has disappeared into the annals of history, it is time to reflect upon the change in thought it has effected. The recently completed Sky Garden at the top of the much-maligned Walkie Talkie building in London becomes the perfect example of the new privatised public space as envisioned by Baudrillard. Was the makeshift dream of occupy completely futile in response to this all-encompassing power of neoliberalism?
This work is a eulogy for the dying art of the cinema projectionist exemplified by the character Alfredo from Cinema Paradiso, a film that is always mentioned when thinking of the projectionist. The work relates to the history of 35mm film and our memory of watching it in the cinema, as well as the workings of our own memory in relation to the material of celluloid film. By showing the small moments of glimpsing the "leader" of a film, almost something illicit, we are made aware of the secret language of the projectionists. More specifically, the work shows our experience of the projectionist as a fictionalized memory.
Freeze Frame Ending
The work analyzes the mechanics of time in moving image through the use of freeze frames, slow motion and the filming of still images. Amongst various others, the ancient Japanese folk story of Urashima the fisherman functions directly in connection to the Urashima-effect, a term from the theory of relativity also called time-dilation, to show the universal reflection on temporal experience. The voiceover dialogue between two computer-created voices suggests an analysis of human nature by two very postmodern thinking AIs, perhaps after the demise of mankind itself. The work is constantly pausing, stopping and moving in language as well as image to highlight the subjective nature of time.
Screen Guide for Americans
Based on the tragic story of Hollywood blacklisting in the 1940s and 50s, this video investigates the feeling of paranoia and political ideology from which these events originate. It takes its title from the text written by Ayn Rand that was used by CIA agents to secretly categorize certain films as suspected Soviet propaganda.
The work proposes that the film Johnny Guitar (1954) evokes real memories of love, despite is status as fiction, despite the theatrical acting and technicolour shine. Something real might be contained within, something that in a way contradicts Debord's idea of the universal inescapability of the spectacle, yet in its détournement also confirms it. It is an ode to the film, showing the love it has received from various sources, but never concealing its underlying treachery as the ultimate spectacle. The doubling of images functions as an echo of the deceitful nature of memory itself, while the medium of film acts in a similar fashion.
Not in My Back Yard
Although nothing unusual may at first be spotted it is the fact that the windmills are turning against each other that makes this scene uncanny. Referencing a scene from Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent, the windmill turning against the wind has been described by Slavoj Zizek as a "quilting point". This is the element, according to Lacanian psychoanalysis, which denatures an otherwise familiar or normal scene. In relation to this the title refers to the NIMBY or "not in my back yard" phrase that has become known in connection with fear of the unknown, especially in relation to proposals for new developments. The video reacts against the blatant display of xenophobia that has increased with the refugee crisis in Europe.
To do Such a Thing would be to Transcend Magic
As an observation on the invisible character of the projectionist, this video uses re-imagined images from the earliest decade of film to discuss the changing structures of cinema. A projectionist disappears into the film he's showing and this activity continues into infinity to make us aware of the status of reality and the dreamlike quality of the medium itself.
As a completely digitally created film, made from found footage of a educational film teaching how to deal with celluloid film and intersected with title cards typical for silent film that now give us propaganda-like statements on how to consider the following footage. The phrases and words focus on the tactile properties of film with insinuations to an aggressive or even sexual behaviour. It makes the viewer aware of our nostalgia towards the medium of film and questions the need of these physical properties of film in a digital era.
Gaze of the Void
A cinematic play on a certain horror atmosphere, presenting ideas on the return of the repressed through the metaphor of the toilet. This in-between space, a space suspended in time and between life and death, is where the truth emerges. A voice from the dead speaks of his life as if it were a film, a story suspended in time. The gaping mouth of the toilet reminds us what we want to forget, secrets we have hidden.
Persistance of Vision
A fever dream of modernism directly related to the mechanics of the filmic medium, this video consists of a pulsating series of images referring to the persistence of vision. Together with the phi phenomenon and beta movement it contributes to the way we see movement in film. It is an optic illusion and yet in this persistence of vision, the image remains to haunt us, blurring the lines between dreams and simple physics. It takes us along, makes us fall into a state we cannot control, like Scottie in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo.
With its disconnectedness between sound and image, this work addresses forms of alienation within the urban environment. The solitary female figure never truly connects with her surroundings or any other people that might be present, but instead seems to be lost in thought and reverie. Her body literally acts as a projection screen for the eternal presence of history and persisting patterns of social life. Through it all remains the residual influence from the 1960s, seen in the presence of architecture, cinematic history and the archetype of the femme fatale as persisting in the character of the nouvelle vague heroine.
Using the sound from various prologues from the 1950s and 60s a new monologue has been created that is lip-synched by an actor who looks like a faded performer from the silent era of cinema. It plays on the expectations that spectators might have while watching a film and creates a profound sense of the uncanny with the use of a partial object, the disembodied voice.
The music and anecdotal storyline cause a sense of immersion and hallucination which is precisely how cinema is supposed to make you feel, but has inconsistencies which makes the viewer aware of being seduced, lured into a world that does not exist. The changing backgrounds are a reference to the old-fashioned technique of back projection that was typical for a certain era of cinema, although in this case it is created with the much more modern technique of green screen. The different times of day in the background makes the viewer aware of the temporality of the medium of film.
Taken from 'breakdowns' of Warner Brothers films from 1936 to 1949 this found footage has been edited and manipulated to show the moments when actors fall out of characters because of an unexpected event or forgetting a line. The Production Code (or Hays Code) was strongly in place at that time, so these moments, filmed by accident, could never be shown to the public.
The Profane World
P is for Psycho
Filmed in Sigmund Freud's house in London and overlaid with a new interpretation of Alfred Hitchcock's trailer of Psycho in which he mythologizes the location where the story takes place, this work plays with the authority of the narrator. It invokes an idea of the uncanny with the returned gaze of the absent one, the gaze of the house itself as a malevolent creature intent on murder.
Capturing the significance of time, in this work one is reminded of the memory of watching a particular film or looking at a photograph. One projection is a freeze frame of a moving image, while the other is a moving image of a still, one is the photograph and the other is the person looking at the photograph, an echo of oneself as the spectator.
This video addresses the different definitions that exist for real time and film time. The haunted feeling of abandoned fairs in combination with the idea that film and photography contain ghosts of their own in the way the mediums are created out of life and held in time. The video has with its own sense of time and logic that seduces the viewer as if it were a dream.
Fictional stories are combined with melodramatic music to mimic the manipulative techniques of cinema, creating a new version of the famous Kuleshov experiment. Filmed from TV to create a sense of intimacy and solitude. We see famous actors in moments that are supposed to reflect extreme emotion, and yet they are not specifically acting anything in particular. Is it just our willingness to follow cinema into suspension of disbelief or is there something more going on?