AN EVENING OF CAMERALESS FILM
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Eyedrum, Atlanta, GA



THE SCRATCH FILM JUNKIES
, San Francisco, CA
Drink From the River (2002), hand-painted film on video, sound, 3 minutes
Music by Mark De Gli Antoni based on an original song by Low

from SFJ founder Thad Povey:
"Looking for some solace after the [September 11, 2001] attacks, I remembered Lethe, the underworld's river of forgetfulness from whose waters souls are required to drink.  All experiences and memory are wiped clean before the next lifetime begins and, although mankind may remember the events of 9/11, my hope is that those who died forgot all as the water wet their lips.

"Created to be part of the collection 'Underground Zero,' this video attempts to put images to the emotional devastation of the attacks of September 11, 2001.  The challenge of making a piece that referenced 9/11 was impenetrable until I began to work with the power of the abstract expressions found in cameraless filmmaking.  The dramatic fire imagery was from a filmed performance by the pyrotechnic group Therm that was immediately contact printed with handmade Ray-o-gram loops.  The black and white family imagery is from a flea market home movie purchase dated 1929.  This was the first Junkie film to be edited on film, but completed on digital to render the superimpositions and effects."

Contributing Junkies - Colleen Silva and Danielle Booth


BRUCE CHECEFSKY, Cleveland, OH
Pharmacy (2000), 35mm, b/w, silent, 4:40
screened in DVD

Pharmacy is a remake of Apteka (1930), a photogram film made by the Polish experimental filmmakers Franciszka and Stefan Themerson. The original film was lost during World War II. Mr. Checefsky explains:

"Our remake of Pharmacy is not a reconstruction of the original but an interpretation based on surviving documents, film stills, and notes. I wanted to remake Pharmacy because it was an extremely important film. It is a way of talking about a sort of stimulant to make the thinkable something as yet untaught. It points to that strange zone where art and action discover secret and unpredictable relations with one another. The problem is how to inhabit this condition and how to continue the underground aesthetics of resistance and extend it into the problematic borders of and in our view of justice." (quoted from the Location One website, www.location1.org).


MICHAEL BETANCOURT, Miami, FL
Tache (2000), 16mm, color, sound, 60 seconds
screened on miniDV

from the artist:
"Tache was produced using a 16mm b/w 7363 hi-con film which was shot on an Oxberry Animation stand to produce a 2:1 masked section that is the basis for the 'letterboxed' video image. This film was then drawn over by hand using Sharpie permanent color pens sporadically for a period of approximately one year. The resulting two minutes of footage was then transferred to miniDV and edited down to a much smaller selection of what was available to use in the movie. Tache was one of my first experiments with desktop video, and I was interested in working with it to produce effects similar to what I could do with an optical printer: loop printing, double and triple exposures, running sections backwards, etc. The soundtrack for the resulting edited-down version was produced from bird calls, sampled and distorted using a freeware audio program called Granulab. The results were synchronized to the movement and speed of the lines and dots, creating a finished short with an audio presence similar to the abstract world implied by the lines and dots themselves. It is an exploration of the potential relationships between digital and analog technologies, as well as the linkages between abstract and representational forms and materials in our experience of watching movies."


OLIVER SMITH, Atlanta, GA
Particle Chamber (1999), 16mm, black and white, silent, 12 minutes
Live soundtrack by Oliver Smith.
Mixed media on film: spray paint, solvent, and salt. An attempt to render visible the world of subatomic particles.

[Note: The soundtrack was performed by Oliver in real time using frequency modulation via a vintage analog synthesizer. --AD, 1/05]


JEANNE LIOTTA, New York, NY
Loretta (2003), 16mm, color, sound, 4:00
sound by Carlo Altomare

from the artist:
"A handmade photogram opera of laborious incarnations and corporeal dissolutions, this film started out as a series of abstract miniatures that were rendered into life by a million flashlit moments. Loretta insists upon herself, and the evidence is an absolute aria, dissolving into the infinite. Living in time as high drama. Yellow conceived of as light materialized; a pure value emitting a particular frequency of energy, applied by hand. A
dialectical manifestation of phenomena in flux, like any other movie."

I love that which dazzles me and then accentuates the darkness within me.
-Rene Char

Jeanne Liotta adds:
"A photogram, also known as a rayogram (after Man Ray) is a cameraless process whereby a photograph is made by placing objects directly on the sensititized paper/film and directing a light source on it to expose it. Loretta was made this way, placing a 35mm negative on top of raw 16mm stock and exposing it with a flashlight, section by section, even frame by frame sometimes."


ANNA GEYER

ARAPADAPTOR (I Feel So), 16mm, color, sound, 4:26

from the artist:
"ARAPADAPTOR (I Feel So) is an abstract film of mostly found sound and cameraless images.  Most of the source material was unwittingly supplied by a Chinese herbalist.  To produce ARAPADAPTOR I applied my flashlight and laser, ala Man Ray, to the caterpillars, cicadas and seeds of the herbal packages, and this was only the beginning.  Much of the original footage was further manipulated - painted, tinted and/or bleached.  Finally, the images were rephotographed, slowed, through the use of an optical printer.

"ARAPADAPTOR is a cross between a expeladaper and a velociraptor and looks like a giant cicada."


KEN PAUL ROSENTHAL, San Francisco, CA
Spring Flavor (1996) 16mm, color, silent, 3 minutes.

In response to an email query, Mr. Rosenthal elaborated on how he made the film:
"The film was primarily generated from a 5-second shot of splintered sunlight shining through pond side reeds. First, I re-photographed the shot through green, yellow, red and blue gels. Once processed, I superimposed 2 projections of 2 different colors onto a white card, and re-photographed them. New colors were generated where the bars of colored sunlight overlapped. That footage was hand-processed using the 'spaghetti method', wherein I crammed 50 feet of film into a 4-reel 35mm still photo tank. The inhibited flow of chemistry encouraged unplanned textural artifacts such as sprocket hole marks, gritty bits of un-washed emulsion and areas that remained negative where the film was tightly pressed against itself. In addition, I buried some of the gelled footage in the earth below the reeds where I had originally filmed. The bacteria in the soil ate away at the
'flesh' of the film, revealing various dye layers in Pollackesque relief. I picked berries from amongst those same reeds, and cooked them over a stove until I had a viscous jam. I stuffed various strips of all the aforementioned imagery into a mason jar with the berry mixture, and placed it in a southern facing window for one year, which produced super grainy and solarized red and magenta hues."


STEVE POLTA, San Francisco, CA
A Glimpse of Soviet Science, 16mm, 18fps, color, silent, 3 min

"An apple grown in a windtunnel. a cosmonaut chicken in zero gravity. Another in a long line. An exercise in home taping total Shutdown through the cell phone."
(Alexis Bravos)

In response to an email query, Mr. Polta elaborated on how he made the film:
"Imagine a strip of film as an undifferentiated field of possibilities: the entire surface is ripe for exposure. This includes the sprocket area, the 'sndtk area,' and the spaces between the frames. Obviously in normal projection situations exposures made in these areas are not part of the film (with the exception of optical sndtk) but there are ways around this which have been explored. Framelines are photographic artifacts of photography [...] they do not exist on the film strip until they are defined by a camera (the frameline is actually a part of the strip which is skipped in the process of photography) [...] A film produced with no camera involved (optical printers count as cameras) will lack framelines. (The standard contact printer has no intermittant shutter mechanism-it just runs off a copy, framelines being duplicated along with the rest of the film's image).

"Sprocket holes keep original and print in registration during contact printing. Also during printing the two strips are generally held in contact-no space between. It's like a 'rayogram' at this point-an exact 1:1 copy, perfectly in focus. Increase the distance between the strips and weird things start to happen."

And about the "Irina Leimbacher" mix of the same film:

"...you strike a print, you look at it, you either like it or try again-'lighter,' 'darker,' 'more cyan,' whatever-until you get it 'right.' Sometimes there's more than one right answer (you don't get to see the wrong answers). [In] the Irina Leimbacher mix: different printing instructions=entirely different film."


THE SCRATCH FILM JUNKIES, San Francisco, CA
An Alchemical Christmas Carol (aka The Alkie X-Mas Sing-a-long), 2000, 16mm, color, sound, 6 minutes

from the artists:
"the experimental film equivalent of a Beatles holiday single release." The source of the spoken sermon-rant is unknown, but it is purported to be a genuine recording of a broadcast church sermon.

"Direct animation techniques reach a pinnacle with Vivian's precise sliding rectangles (some see toboggans or stretchers) that move gracefully and overlap with themselves and the candle wax background.  Thad explored hand-made, hand-printed, and hand-processed bouncing ball sing-a-long titles, as well as punched out 35mm film retaped into a 16mm field.  Colleen comes in with radically hand-stitched film and we also used the U.S. Postal Service to bring in Brooklyn Junkie Karen as a pen-pal."

Contributing Junkies - Vivian Dwyer, Kathleen Fernald, Kitty Hutton, Colleen
Silva, and Karen Decher.


INTERMISSION


PETER MILLER
, Chicago, IL
project:or (2002), 16mm, color, silent, 2 minutes 30 seconds

from the artist:
"While I was working at a movie theater I began running raw film through projectors while other projectors in the the booth projected movies. My first attempt was 100' of 16mm negative that I ran while a 35mm machine shone out the final reel of the newly restored Metropolis. I call the film project:or, I call the technique 'projector obscura.'

"The archaic imagery of Metropolis [lends itself] to the ramshackle quality of the recorded effect. The subject is of frantic folk preparing to burn the heroine at the stake as a witch; the flare from film fogged by traveling naked in a room thins the image, as through smoke and reds and oranges leap out like flames."

In response to an email query, Mr. Miller elaborated on this technique:
"[T]hink of how, by focusing a projector, you establish a focal relationship between the film plane and screen plane via the lens. If, after you project a focused film, you slipped a piece of white paper behind the lens where the film went while projecting a different film from a second projector onto the same screen, you'd see the second film's images, upside down and small on that piece of paper. Light leaving the screen gathers in the first projector's lens and is focused down onto the film gate in a reverse manner of the relationship set up when the projector was focused. Instead of white paper, I sent film past that point and, like in a camera, the film recorded the light's impression. 'Camera' is Italian for 'room', which is to say that film cameras are dark boxes, allowing only prescribed amounts of light inside in a specific way. Projectors are not shielded from the light. I had to turn the lights off in the room, turning the room into a camera (which is an Italian pun, I suppose). Enough light emanated from the second projector to flare the film; that's why it looks thin and flat."


ROBBIE LAND, Atlanta, GA
Fall Creek Road #6, 16mm, color, silent, 2 minutes
Untitled, 16mm, color, silent, approx. 3 minutes, premiere showing

from the artist:
"Fall Creek Road Study #6 was produced by contact printing a 16mm film onto super-8mm raw film stock then hand-processing it in photo chemicals. After the process was successful, the super-8 was printed back to16mm film.

"The original film source is a collection of my high contrast 35mm slides I rephotographed onto the 16mm stock. Therefore, this contact printing technique put the slides into motion, of sorts."


ERIC THEISE, San Francisco, CA
Hojas de Maiz, 16mm, 18fps, color, 10 minutes
live soundtrack by Nat Slaughter and Brian Parks

from the artist:
"Hojas de Maiz is an abstract film, constructed from etchings without the use of a camera.  Made at the request of Cincinnati instrument-builder Anthony Luensman, the film was originally intended to be projected amidst arrays of vibrating piano strings.  To provide an organic counterpoint to the lines of machine-spun steel, the film was built up from impressions taken of the corn husks used to form and steam tamales. An old media (etchings, celluloid) journey through progressions of color, temperature, and screen energy."

[Note: Nat's and Brian's soundtrack consisted of close-miked ears of corn, roasting on a grill in the back of the room, and heard unaltered through loudspeakers. As the film screened, the gallery slowly filled with the smell of roasted corn. --AD, 1/05]

 

THE SCRATCH FILM JUNKIES, San Francisco, CA
St. Louise (1999), 16mm, color, sound, 5 minutes
Music by Soul Coughing

from the artists:
"This film was originally made for the Warner Brothers recording artists Soul Coughing's national tour to be used for on-stage projections.  Many of the simplest direct animation techniques are showcased - architectural appliqu├ęs and rub-ons, bleach and resist treatment of previously photographed emulsion, scratched and cut black leader, and even
emulsion that has been carefully heated and burned with magnified sunlight.  Selected bits have been rephotographed onto print stock, which reverses the polarity (or "inverting" as it is called digitally) of the original film.

Contributing Junkies - Vivian Dwyer, Kathleen Fernald, and Kitty Hutton.


SOPHIA MILLIGAN, Falmouth, Cornwall, UK
from the artist:
"[These] pieces are created on 16mm film (without the use of a camera) through physical contact between the film and various actions and processes.
"The films explore the perception of everyday events that aren't normally open to sensual experience, in which the trace of ephemeral moments of contact between two surfaces is documented as a permanent visual and audible record."

Tide Retreating (2003), 16mm, color, sound, 1 min. 30 sec.
screened on mini-DV
"Thrown into the sea off the Cornish coast, the film was washed by the waves into and over the granite protrusions and pebbles on the shore. The tide was going out and I waited several hours for the film to become dry upon the exposed beach. It therefore provides a testament to the action of the retreating waters, the film's surface increasingly distressed towards the end left in the sea the longest."

Banister (2003), 16mm, color, sound, 2 minutes
screened on mini-DV
"Stripped and bleached, the film was then painted (hence the blue colouring), in order to increase its sensitivity to touch. Placed around a gallery, the film was attached to many surfaces including doors, stairs, handles and handrails. Left for the duration of the three-day exhibition taking place, the film gathered the traces of corporal contact with the various architectural forms of the space. Banister is one section of this set of films, and exists as a documentation of the previously unremarked occurrences of the event."


PAUL RITT
, Tegelen, The Netherlands
Flow (2003), digital animation, color, sound, 5 minutes
screened on DVD
A colorful digital animation of squares and abstract shapes, continually "zooming in" to ever greater levels of detail, and synchronized to the musical soundtrack.


Program notes: 2003 Andy Ditzler


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Andy Ditzler  10/21/2016