Yesterday we began our residency at the performance space, working with expanded cinema.
Itâ€™s been a bit crazy, making space for this project. Lifeâ€™s so hectic, but itâ€™s good to have the three weeks laid aside specifially to focus on this stuff, even if weâ€™re not as â€œpreparedâ€ as we might have wanted to be.
Yesterday we came out in the rain and delivered a car load of stuff here: 16mm camera, projector, video player, video camera, sound recorder, tripods, rolls of paper, books, tapes etc. Weâ€™re trying to amass everything we have here so that weâ€™ve got expanded cinema at our fingertips as much as we can.
But it was a mad day for me, I had to run off to a meeting and then to the doctor and then speak with estelle on the phone and then off to mindfulness. So not much just being in here, in the space.
And what a space it is! Iâ€™m sitting here now, in the north west corner, tapping away on this amazing computer theyâ€™ve given us to work on, and beyond the screens (!) there is an immense cube, maybe 20m square, and as tall, but tapering up to a triangular ceiling over the metal I beam rafters. Itâ€™s like a concrete box theyâ€™ve built within the carriageworks here – the carriageworks is an even bigger box, too big to work at on human scale. So they made these smaller, more manageable sheds inside the big one, and weâ€™re in one of them. At the eastern side of our studio, which is called track 12, are three sets of doors. These doors take up almost all the eastern wall, in fact. (Not sure about the compass points precisely). Theyâ€™re big old barn doors, maybe 5 metres high, two doors for each of the three openings, arched doors. These are sealed by glass panels which block them in, providing an air lock and increased security, I suppose. The glass boxes consist of four horizontal panels, each about 3 metres wide, and the bottom two panels are frosted, perhaps with a layer of translucent vinyl applied to the glass. The top two panels are clear. The old doors have various gaps and cracks, which let light sneak in, and on two of the three door openings, the size of these gaps is just right to allow the formation of a small camera obscura on the frosted glass panels. The inverted image which appears is of the warehouse outside, sawtooth sheds, concrete and sky.
Inside our box, black curtains hang from a track running around the top of the walls. Itâ€™s hard to say how far they expand, but it could be that these curtains close potentially close up the entire room in black drapery. The walls are raw concrete, you can clearly see the construction that has gone into them, they are large panels which have been fitted together and then raised up into position, there are small round shallow holes all over them, perhaps from some remnant of the concrete mold, and very obvious vertical and horizontal joins in the cement.
Yesterday when we first entered, I noticed these walls. They really are quite a feature of the room. I asked Louise if she thought we needed to get a screen to project onto. But she didnâ€™t think so, and I reckon sheâ€™s right. The concrete is pale enough, and with 2â€²45â€³ the texture of the existing environment is important, rather than having ideal conditions. Besides, given that itâ€™s a nomadic work, you might be able to trace the history of the piece based on the visible characteristics of the wall textures.