‘Photochemical Games’ is a film screening of works by Australian film artists at Belconnen Arts Centre on Saturday 5 October, 6-730pm.
Film is dead! This pronouncement rears its head so frequently that for those who still like making images from chemicals reacting to light, it’s nothing to be alarmed by. Like the claims about one of its analogue cousins, the book, film looks set to continue to occupy a dusty but cosy corner, celebrated and loved by its acolytes.
This screening on Saturday the 5th is a mini celebration of what some Australian film artists are doing with photochemistry. What is film art anyway? For artists (and recent NFSA artists-in-residence) Richard Tuohy and Dianna Barrie soon due in New York for the illustrious Views from the Avant-Garde, film art is making stuff the old way using motion picture film with light sensitive chemicals on it. Their films bring you to a different kind of headspace – it’s not about stories and it’s not about visual wallpaper. It is about creating a retinal message that does stuff to the eye and the brain.
The film night at BAC offers up a program of recent works by Australian film artists who explore photochemistry in different ways. Sally Golding (formerly of Brisbane, now in London) will contribute a ‘compost’ film that plays with the fact that photo chemistry is a physical and organic thing.
Peter Humble will present his processing games which explore what you can do when you intervene in the chemistry to develop the film yourself. The image in his hand processed colour works emerge out of the photochemical miasma, making you see the hills hoist in a totally new way.
Are other people interested in this work? Yes. Call it artists’ film, film art, experimental film – it’s a routine inclusion in most international film festivals (how about it CIFF?). Sally Golding is part of the artists’ film lab No.w.here that is all about traditional motion picture film. Indeed Richard and Dianna operate Nanolab, similarly old school and craft based, here in Australia in country Victoria. Sally curates a regular event in London called Unconscious Archives which is all about the performed film, linking up noise and sound art with abstract moving image. London audiences love it and her events are sell outs. The performed film aka audiovisual performance is alive and well in Canberra – DannyWild’s Playful Sound nights is a fun example. Danny will contribute a performance made with two super 8 projectors featuring 1970s home movies of Canberra.
And finally, why is this craft practice not just replaced by movies made on the mobile phone? It’s got to do with the fact of light at a particular moment in time passing through that particular piece of celluloid.