Thursday, 28 November 2013

Film, again and again!

A review of Living Film at by Andrew Vallance

The featured works in ‘Living Film’, at on October 16, are, in

some respects, reminiscent of experimental films past. However,

history is not being repeated, but recast and renewed. No work is

autonomous; that which precedes it, informs it. Cathy Rodger’s

‘Rosemary Again and Again’, a black and white film loop, was produced

by the physical touch of a rosemary bush and the film’s exposure. This

‘simple’ procedure brought forth complex plays of light and movement

that suggested Modernist like photograms. The work’s origination may

have been procedurally formal, but any homage was a matter of

‘natural’ chance and effect.

The placing of the projectors in the space tight to the

audience, and the materiality of the projection, enabled a direct

causality which allowed the films to be ‘normalised’, once again, and

elevated the primacy of the work. This sense was heightened by the use

of the lab in the intermission; film is now so often seen as a

rarefied medium, and is not usually accompanied by the serving of

Austrian food surrounded by all the paraphernalia of film’s


Vicky Smith and Karel Doing’s ambitious and lively programme concluded

with James Holcome and Asnan Adam’s film performance, ‘Hair in the

Gate’. This wry piece, a combining of a clear film loop, hair cut from

James’s beard, and his spit, articulated with wit and intuitive

invention the night’s genesis, and in doing so neatly exposed the

overly precious and ponderous nature of so much film art. Living Film

was just that: alive, at times maybe flawed, but vital all the same.

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