Artists' Television Access

Light Field – Program 6

Sunday, November 13, 2016, 2:00 pm

gradual-speedThe first annual edition of Light Field presents an international exhibition of recent and historical experimental moving image work on celluloid. This screening is curated by film programmer David Dinnell.

Films in Program 6 include:

Blue Loop July (USA, 2014, 5 min, 16mm, sound) – Mike Gibisser

Chicago’s summertime blazes, unanchored. Skywriting out of time. Part of a series of nighttime long exposures, Blue Loop, July creates an odd document of a long-standing celebratory tradition in one of Chicago’s lower west side neighborhoods. By leaving the camera’s shutter open for seconds at a time, the film transforms a summertime spectacle into a light-trace animation that unseats reliability of spatial and temporal direction.

Observation (Japan, 1975, 10 min, 16mm, b&w / silent) – Hiroshi Yamazaki

Yamazaki’s film is composed of two sequences:  a simple scene of a street corner taken from a window is given the appearance of dawn, then illumination, then blinding light through the use of a single gradual filter change; and shots of the position of the midday sun on 27 consecutive days, taken through a dense day-for- night filter, are superimposed, creating an eerie arc of heavenly bodies. Yamazaki Hiroshi is probably best known for his still photography, in particular his acclaimed series “Suiheisen saishū (Horizon)”, a study of sea horizons, and “Heliography”, where he uses extended exposure times to show the path of the sun near the horizon.

Gradual Speed (Belgium, 2013, 52 min, 16mm, sound) – Els van Riel

For a film whose title describes the relatively simple mechanism used to create it, Els van Riel’s 16mm film ushers a series of startling transfigurations which brilliantly engage the form in the extended time spent with people, animals, events and objects in whose company the filmmaker sketches larger philosophical concerns to do with love, fixity, representation and loss.  Carefully positioned, the camera begins on a single frame, the shutter held open, and then is imperceptibly increased in speed, quickening the frame rate and thus changing the exposure time for each successive frame, which eventually produces a visible moving image whose Keystone-Cops styled speed in turn changes, at length falling into step with real time. van Riel was inspired to make the film in part by happening upon the account of Vladimir Shevchenko, one of the first photographers to witness the immediate and appalling consequences of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl and to record them on a sensitive plate. The actual degree of that sensitivity was evident in the film he used, which, when processed, showed the characteristic effects of heavy radiation in the emulsion. He himself later succumbed to radiation poisoning.  

van Riel notes, “It is this inextricable relationship that casts its long shadow across this musing film-sculpture, like an afterthought that reminds us that film is primarily a body that carries within it the light traces of other bodies, always balancing between appearing and disappearing.” These observations are manifested in the precision of her subject’s endlessly renewed temporal adjustment, so that the imminent haste, for example, of her dozing mother, whose fidgeting over the long duration signifies much in it’s change of speed alone, becomes all we have ever needed to know about exposure tables and time’s abstract passage. It is this inward epiphany, rather than any dazzle on the screen that holds the greatest power to sway. – Julie Murray

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