Mike L: notes from Long Film

long film image from mike L

A few folks who we invited to experience our private “screening” of Long Film for Ambient Light have begun to filter back with their thoughts after the event.

Mike and Deborah visited in its last half hour, late Saturday morning the 17th of March.

Mike sent us these thoughts:

So I thought I’d debrief a little……

I don’t remember seeing LFfAL before…… but might have done…… it is a subtle work in terms of image and duration and therefore recalled with difficulty. For those of us like myself who often make time to savour the light as it happens, in a range of settings and at different times, such subtleties are not for recall, but experiencing.

But this remote version, remote from the arbitrating influence of the conceptualist A.McA, created its own magic and its own mnemonic. The room was a people centre. At first like a refuge with figures huddled around bundles in a far corner, refugees from a cyclone, or some other natural disaster. Then the room was a laboratory with precision instruments lined along one wall recording from several perspectives and in many aspects the focus of attention. Which was, the four elegant windows along one wall, floor to ceiling, a barely discernible incandescen tlightbulb swinging from the high support, two metres off the ground. (I’ve attached the best of the pix I took
of this element of the place.)

Then the conversations in the room began and sometime later, as we were hoping, the sun came out for a moment and we all stopped talking
and turned towards the light(s).

For a moment I was reminded of what I have been told about Te Papa in Wellington. There are several galleries of photographs of Pacific Islanders, exposures made mostly in the 19th and early 20th centuries by anthropologists, for a variety of reasons from the altruistic to th curious, nonetheless variously imposing the technology of the colonial powers onto the peoples of the islands. What the colonialists hadn’t anticipated was that these images would become directly useful to the descendents of the subjects within the frame, for it is they on particular days who gather in extended family groups with the photographs hanging in the galleries – food is prepared and eaten with the ancestors.

The scene in the Track 12 room resembled these celebrations, the extended family of friends joined in this time and place by the bringing together of light as both concept, history, place and moment, in some ways like the ancient operators of the monolithic timepieces who also used light, place and moment to bring proportion to what could otherwise become an endless void.

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