oxide (ii)+(iii) 2011

16mm film, super8 film, magnetic sound, rust, projectors, variable duration


Extract of performance at no.w.here labs, 26th October 2011

Oxide (ii)+(iii) is a multiscreen, multiprojector performance & installation work using 16mm & super 8 film and magnetic sound.

For this work sound has been made by staining rust on the total film area prior and post film processing. Here, short lengths of unexposed film are laced with magnetically charged iron filings and sprayed with salt-water. What results is visual staining and magnetic charging on both sides of the film surface. Furthering the initial experiment, expired film is used to encourage different results in the unstable state of the film emulsion and other found results.

By considering the total image area as potential sound carrier, the films are subjected to contact copy and print many times over to build the image area and subsequent sound into a multi-layered piece where the relation of sound and image are at first borne of the same process, but eventually they dislocate in the process of re-production. Sound grows in and out, image fades independently. The (rendered) sound is recorded to tape.

It is in the moment of performance where the movement of film and sound can marry: the musicality of both is beyond the physicality of the medium and intent in the moment of experience, perhaps reliant on an improvisational response. Perhaps here listening imbues visuality and vice versa, the work itself is as variable as the moment.

Developed from the 'Embedded residency' with Sound and Music and no.w.here labs (UK) 2011

Extract of super 8 magnetic transfer

Extract of 16mm rusted colour stock

Press text by Rob Gawthrop

When encountering a new work, at the forefront of the mind are questions around what is being seen and heard. However, can a sensory experience be separated from prior knowledge about it? To use Pierre Bourdieu’s terminology, how does cultural competence affect the viewing/listening experience in the first place?

Descriptions of how OXIDE was made, do not necessarily say anything about how it may look or sound. Nevertheless, through the evidence of the material process of its making we are guided away from symbolic or subjective interpretation. There is no likeness no matter what might be read into it. What the work sounds or looks like has no more validity than seeing images in tea-leaves or hearing voices through static. A process of comparison, between what may be expected and what is actually experienced, is facilitated.

In everyday life sights and sounds are seen and heard from specific locations and selected consciously or unconsciously whereas in a cinematic environment sounds and images that seem to not go together can be described as disjunctive. In OXIDE the source of the images and sounds are essentially similar but seem separate. They have been produced through a process but there is nothing reproduced. It is by intensive scrutiny, through the complexities of auditory and visual noise, that an immediacy of experience is produced which challenges us.

Rob Gawthrop 2011