Curham: Long Film for Ambient Light 2nd commentary

14:40 Ground of my body, quite high tension, I am noticing the ‘base’ settings hence the description ‘ground of my body’. Column thoughts [feedback sheet had columns, used by no one except me and Walty unwillingly]. Strange how use of someone else’s specificity is having the effect of making us be present in this here and how (McCall’s specificity of this work in 1975). Continue reading “Curham: Long Film for Ambient Light 2nd commentary”

Louise’s Commentary on Long Film for Ambient Light

12 pm Fri Mar 16 to 12 pm Sat Mar 17E-mail to Cynthia today with some thoughts on the Long Film:

The Long Film was a very intense experience – my head did very strange things. It was unrelentingly social which I found very, very difficult. The intensity of such focus on a single space over such a time span was intense in the
extreme. Interesting that the 24 hours McCall framed was darkness book ended by light.

My best discovery was a very clear mental image of the sun in the sky acting like a bellows creating these fluctuations in the room [so in the end for me, this is a landscape film, how curious!]

I found the light bulb almost intolerable, it came to invade the room, a ‘tense object’ as one visitor described it even in daylight. At night, it felt like an attack. There was a sense at about 1am of being in solitary confinement without the benefit of being alone. I sat outside the room for many hours there – still in the building but just outside, trying to keep myself calm and as present as possible.
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Lucas: Expanded Cinema Residency March 12th

Digging around old notes collected during research in london, found an interview with William Raban from the “illuminations” series. I had watched these interviews, with raban and also guy sherwin, while sitting in the office of the british artists film research unit at central st martins college. Stephen ball emailed me the raw transcriptions. There are a few statements in there by William which shed light on our work in trying to nut out two minutes forty five.
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Lucas: Expanded Cinema Residency March 10th

today we decided to have a shorter session – to concentrate on getting one complete iteration done of 55 seconds, and 6 minutes, from go to whoa. we got it done in under three hours, which is a big improvement. peter was with us, which made it a bit more fun. the very light 16mm strip from yesterday had a surprising amount of visible footage, so we decided to just continue on rather than abandon it and start from a step back. and the video version is getting more and more interesting each time – now the resonant sonic frequencies of the room are beginning to reinforce each other, in the words of alvin lucier, and we’re just getting the start of a beautiful musical sound piece. theres a comic element creeping in too. I’m getting the sense that the video version could really work, with an audience over a period of days, just as raban did in the seventies. it seems to make sense that he would have started the piece anew with each new venue, rather than transporting the previous venue’s product to a new venue to add to. that way, “our” venue would be seen to be making something from the ground up. i dunno, either would probably work, i guess.
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Louise: Expanded Cinema Residency March 10th

In doing the Expanded works in late 2003-4, my motivation was to see actually experience these pieces as reading on page, hard to really understand. Also motivated to do them to continue with performance aspect to SMIC events. I was thinking a lot about interactivity at the time – mostly because the buzz at COFA was around the interactive cinema research centre.
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Lucas: Expanded Cinema Residency March 9th

big day today, meeting with kat and telling her all about the project, what we’re trying to do, the four works that we’re concentrating on. she’s our tech assistant, and will be helping us set the room up for long film for ambient light.
all these works have a concentration on time, pushing and pulling time. sometimes they seem to me to be a little dry, early 70s conceptualism, not much overt content referring to social situations. but i know that this is only a surface issue, and that under the surface these artists were concerned with about attention, concentration, the passage of time, and, well, mindfulness, and that they push against the spectacularisation of the image. whether they succeeded or not, maybe that’s what we’re trying to find out. and of course, how the hell can we tell whether or not they succeeded, since we’re working with approximate re-enactments with partial information, and a completely different culture. jeepers.
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Louise: Expanded Cinema Residency March 9th

Interestingly, I start to align the new media with Lucas and the old media with me, this is NG. Means I align the anthropomorphic failure of the film with myself – NG. Focus problems in the film – registration pulse problem. No evident problem in the actual camera, checked it.
Actions list 9/3/07:
1. buy media at Officeworks – CD Rs, DVDRs, AA batteries
2. confirm that Raban used 24FPs, kitchen table meeting Curham/Ihlein: 1 ft = 40 frame, so that’s 1.6 sec/ft, so 100 ft = 160 secs, 2’45“ = 165 seconds (120+45). Question for Raban there, was this the ‘little bit extra from Kodak’?
3. Meeting Kat, Lucas, Louise. Describe our intentions for whole residency to Kat. Go through details of Long Film. Kat gives us Final Cut Pro training.
4. lunch Kat, Lucas, Louise
5. Refilm 55”, 6 Minutes. Re set. Watch 6 Minutes. Discuss.
6. Curham reads McCall 1976 Jay St statement while processing.

Day 4 Commentary on 2′ 45″

Section 1.
Find problem in loss of lux in video iteration in projection. The film will end up black if we continue with the image in pos. Opt to use the negativising option in the video camera. Discuss lighting state. Try fluoro to increase light in room as video camera exposure level is very dark. Fluoro NG. Negativising image solves this darkness problem.

Section 2.
16mm is now titled ’55 Seconds’, video titled ‘6 Minutes’.
Issues: sound
Did Raban actuually record it or did he just speak it live so therefore he appears on camera speaking it. In the video, in standard use, it is present as a matter of course. it is a positive action to have no sound. Discussion Curham/Ihlein about sound [no evidence of Raban’s use – does not appear on the frame enlargements which show entire frames inc edge marks and sprockets. No discussion in Hamlyn’s ‘Film Art Phenomenon’. Thinking through difficulty for Raban and ‘liveness’ in the spirit of the work means it is unlikely he did record sound [since confirmed he did]. LC and LI decide to proceed with sound work in its own right. Curham interested in the effct of these iterations – have not actuually heard the related sound pieces – ‘I am sitting in a room’ … Lucier (although I think we listened to this at Kellerberin). So the sound is particularly separate in the film version.

Section 3.
Discussion about the title for the video piece. Discovering that proposed 4’33” evokes more than we wish (Cage too present). Discuss meditation, discuss time length, propose 6 minutes in title – dispense with ‘groovy’ addition (and Cage) by dropping the seconds. Places the emphasis of this piece squarely on the time. Use the egg timer to delimit 6 minutes. For LC, 6 minutes feels very long (pace of my life very fast).

Section 4.
Things that come to mind:
Today great engagement with the video piece where yesterday, the video felt like it did nothing to shape or sculpt the time and space in which we are operating where the film felt like it was carving out, delineating a chunk of space in the way that Breath seems to.

Moment of deflation in discussion about the difficulty of the film – implication – complication/difficulty of the film unnecessary, uninspiring. Many things unnecessarily hard, hard for no evident gain [greater thinking about the space].

Section 5.
McCall and thinking
– related actions – acquired Camera Obscura measurements
– viewed room at c. 8.30pm. Light still present, still light in sky. Evident in sitting, looking that the sky line, building sky line is very beautiful and takes us outside of this space. Not sure still what this is all about, what the meditation is all about.

[Dev for Curham art practice in this project – in film one cannot ‘practice’ per se. Musicians take themselves through the works of composers, they flesh these out and inhabit them as actors do with scripts. In drawing or painting, mimesis is a tool. In this attempt at mimesis, we are realising our own specific problems but we are finding this in our own bodies. We are mapping the actions of these artists onto our own bodies by doing these actions. What we are discovering is that … [thought not continued].

Change the behaviour, the rest will follow [trying on some new behaviours – so may be all the Curham work is about trying to find tools for change, catalysts for change]. So in following the behaviour, actually in a sense we work backwards from the object to create the logic for our approach and as we go, we are filling this out. So we have an image of the Raban piece but we do not actually have a method. We have some of his comment eg Live in Your Head but we do not have an actual set of instructions in the way that we did for Breath. We have informed imagined scenarios about how Raban did it. We have comment I think from Raban to LI that if he did it now, he would do it on video.

LI comments that negativising the image is okay because this is a standard video camera feature. LC unsure but the reality of making this piece using this form demands it. It is interesting here how the newer tech has to mimic the older tech – so the newer tech cannot in itself offer a solution to this problem, it can only solve the problem through direct mimesis of the older tech. Mystique surrounds the older tech – shrouded in the mists of time etc etc. However mystique is the actual recording on video for Curham. Exactly how is video working? So the signal is

time base
fluctuation on sensor, electrical particles – sensor registers binary/analogue of fluctuations/pulses/modulations of wave on tape
electrical pulse

Day 4 Thursday 8 March

Actions list
1: Officeworks for firewire
2: e-mail Australian Cinematographers Society re Auricon. Discover Auricon reputation is as sound-on-film camera manufactured from 1933- to 1990s so no necessary link to television. Seems very early to record sound on film. Also had mag head for pre-striped film as well as optical record head in camera (which all makes sense for television).
3. pack lunch
4. discover problems with Officeworks purchase, acquired USB instead of firewire, NG
5. Process film – problems in use of tank. Training revision in wind on to tank. Go through steps together, both go through all steps. Processing comes out okay. Also process some Bolex re-film – density okay, 9 min dev, 3rd use of dev, 72 hour old dev. Stock was Kodak neg 400ASA c 5-6 years old processed in LC29 mixed 19+1, then stop, Ilford fixer, wash c. 7 mins.
6. lunch
7. 16mm 2′ 45″ check out framings. Problem with tests. Today’s considered as iteration 1. Shoot this. Seems okay. Have to burn audio to CD for use tomorrow.
8. Commence video. Encounter problems in FCP skills. Break. Go to shops, sit in two parks. Find spider web holding up hibiscus. Encounter Trevor. Buy oranges and chocolate biscuits, find free books inc. 1993 Sydney street directory and illustrated infectious diseases. Come back.
9. Discussion about title for video version 2′ 45″.
10. Develop 16mm film. LI does this. All good except lid on tank jams and problems with stop bath. Exposure looks good. May be inadequately fixed. May be that fixer is exhausted by Curham during development of Bolex re-film colour neg.
11. Curham does drawing for Shaw
12. Text writing.

Expanded Cinema Residency March 8th

wow this is turning out to be an oddball project. yesterday and today we spent learning how to hand process 16mm film (louise already knew, but was learning to do it more systematically, and i was starting from scratch). it’s pretty much the same as processing 35mm black and white still photographic negative, except obviously the film strip is thinner and much longer. louise has this great russian plastic processing tank, it can take 30 feet of film at a time. you have to load it up in the dark, on this spool thing which keeps the surface of the film emulsion separated from itself, and then you can put on the lid, turn on the lights, and pour in the chemicals. i like it a lot, how you have to put yourself into complete blindness for a period of time, groping around in the dark completely relying on your sense of touch, in order to produce this artifact which is all about vision.
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