Night cap with Re-Vue
How did you get into making Re-Vue?
It’s really part of a series of works where I explore the interfaces and gaps between digital moving images and celluloid. My working method means I have a lot of unfinished work that I intermittently return to, often when I discover and familiarize myself with a new technique or strategy that I layer over a failed or discarded image. Re-vue is really the latest report of my ongoing dialogue with the material and technique of moving images.
How much are you related to Mike Hoolboom?
I was living in Vancouver, Canada in the 90s where I first crossed paths with Mike Hoolboom and we have kept in touch ever since. Editing, filming and screening in the same spaces. Most recently during a residency at LIFT (Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto) in Toronto there was a chance for more in depth discussion that led to this film. We have written about each other’s work. For me his feature-length Tom (2002) is a seminal film in the history of contemporary avant-garde cinema.
Are you interested in the psychological and emotional influence of colors? Do you think characteristic pictures such as a bird or a horse, can have similar effects?
I am certainly interested in perceptual effects and the viewing strategies required to negotiate an image rush at speed. Color’s relation to flicker effects and afterimages have interested me since the completion of my first 16mm film, Running in 1976. These speeded-up viewing experiences force one to step into modes of pattern recognition. Often the graphics I use in my films which includes birds and horses relate to a specific period of practice. I think I originally scratched and rotoscoped those images directly onto celluloid from a Muybridge book in the 80s. In such ways images, movements and gestures acquire a personal and autobiographical history. They become a kind of visceral memory. I think a more representational photo-album operates similarly. These memories may be lost on the viewer but this adds a personal and biographical dimension to my image production, which in Re-vue emerges through the film’s text. I tend to have a lot of short strips of film in my studio, scraps and leftovers from decades of experimentation that I rediscover and recycle into my digital work. These scraps contain these histories.
Which techniques did you use to animate Re-Vue?
I have mentioned some techniques, but it is the layering of techniques from scratching, dyeing and processing the film myself to re-filming that interest me. Now I am making found-footage films from my own archive. It becomes important how these elements are placed in relation to each other in time and space. An important part of Re-vue is the use of my old JK optical printer, which I have adapted with a new gate and placed a Panasonic GH3 digital still camera on its end, rather than a Bolex 16mm camera. It is my way of transferring my 16mm scribbling to the digital with a lot of added re-manipulation.
Which relation do you have to subtitling?
The text has re-emerged in my work, often through the spoken word but also through sub-titling. It is another channel of communication in dialogue with the other audio-visual channels. It is a way to bring story and biography back in the mix. It is another layer. It brings me back to my body. It becomes the skin, the container of the film.
Why did you want to make the connection with fireworks?
The abstract, celebratory and physical nature of fireworks speaks to my interest in the physicality of film. The fireworks are connected to the countdown to New Year’s Eve at the start of the film. In a way this means that the body of this film takes place in a split second. The whole film and its abstract thought processes takes place in that small real time between the countdown and the firework explosion. It is the moment when a memory is formed.
What sort of freedom would you say the short format allows?
Short film is really open to anything. With this packet of time you can push your audience into new or un-familiar territories without losing them. Contemporary audiences are able to unpack complex images more easily and are engaged by this play. At the same time people get more easily bored. There are screens everywhere. Like the pop-song in the 60s, the short film is ideally suited to address this evolving mobile situation.
Are other releases scheduled?
Re-vue was show at a number of festivals including, Melbourne and London International Animation Festivals and Anti-Matter in Canada.
Are you taking part in other events during the Clermont Ferrand Film Festival? (Espressos, Conferences, other?)
I plan to see as much new work as my little brain can bear.
Bonus : Discover the video presentation by the filmmaker.