Photogenic — January 2021 Labocine Issue #54

It is no coincidence that the inventors of photography were well-versed in scientific research and chemistry was substantial for the improvement of photographic techniques. Until the digital age at the turn of the 21st century, film-based photochemical methods remained indispensable for photographic practices — same goes for cinema. Exploring the notion of photogenic, the January 2021 issue looks at the complex relationship between science, photography and the medium of film onscreen — Özge Calafato

Non Linear

A collaboration between a photographer, a poet, an animator and an electronic music producer. Linnea Rundgren is a unique photographer, who uses an electron microscope to take viewers into hitherto unseen realms of life — past, present and future.

Over the past several years she has accumulated an extraordinary collection of images — ancient single-celled fossils; human, animal and insect anatomy; crystalline structures; …and nanotechnology. No one who sees her pictures can remain unaffected. This includes Hugo The Poet, who met Linnea in Melbourne and was struck by the innovative work that she does. The two decided to collaborate on a cross-over piece, using Linnea’s photos to tell a story of life. Linnea put many of her best pictures into a narrative order and Hugo weaved a poem that tells a form of retrospective creation myth, incorporating not only evolution but also the coming dawn of nanotechnology. What they now required was music and vision. For music, it was an easy choice. One electronic music pioneer from Belgium has created music that can sum up the confluence and flow and creativity of life on Earth from its inception to the nano-tech world that is to come. Sk’p is a truly extraordinary artist, and his style is perhaps best exemplified in his masterpiece Eye Earth Pt. 2. He has kindly given permission for this track to be used in the piece. On the vision side, there came on board Dave Abbott — a Photo/Video, VFX, animation and editing renegade also based in Melbourne — who set to work turning a simple slideshow of still images into an immersive fully animated experience. This all culminated in the work that you are about to see. A soliloquy from the Earth itself, congratulating life for all its inventiveness over the past several billion years, and giving some encouragement — and some caution — for the next stage of nano-technological creativity.

Non Linear

AgX: H2O2

AgX is an art-science project about material memory and forgetting; it features time-lapse photography of photographic negatives being chemically destroyed.

AgX: H2O2

Alles was Irgendwie NütztAll (All What is Somehow Useful)

A multitude of animals brought together in a rhythmical sequence of photographs. The images blend together similar to the cross breeding of animals. An accumulation of bygone days, captured in photos, in which the animals are replaceable, but the same employees frequently reappear. Years of studies and experiments on animals are reduced to a few images per second. The outcome of the research derived from the image or remains a mystery. Seeing is comparing; discovering similarities or differences, seeking for an ideal, gratification of curiosity, optimising utilisation. “Alles was Irgendwie NütztAll” is based on the historical glass plate photograph collection “Julius Kühn” of the Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg.

Alles was Irgendwie NütztAll (All What is Somehow Useful)

Deforest

Deforest is an art/science project that combines environmental critique with material enquiry. In this project, sulphuric acid — a highly corrosive acid that burns to the touch — is used to dissolve photographs of old growth rainforest from subtropical Queensland.

Deforestation is one of the key planks of anthropogenic climate change. It is responsible for around 12% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and also causes erosion and biodiversity loss. Our forests are vital carbon sinks, but they are also repositories of extra-human time, a kind of “memory of the earth” that is erased daily to serve the needs of the present. Within the context of the Anthropocene, deforestation is an urgent touchstone for the threshold between economic and environmental imperatives in both developed and developing nations.

This project focuses on these issues in a unique way. Deforest seeks to find a media analogue for the depletion of the world’s forests, using photographic media and a corrosive acid to “materialize” deforestation along different channels than the documentary record. The ruin of the image, the experience of its loss, and its relation to the world at large lies at the core of this project.

Time-lapse photography is used to record the complex interaction between the acid and the slide film. The image is accompanied by music by Matthew Bourne and a soundtrack composed primarily of environmental recordings in the Bunya Mountains, a temperate rainforest in South-East Queensland and the site of the photographs used in this project.

Deforest

Papierowe pudelko (Paper Box)

In May 2010, after record rainfall, flash flood broke embankments of the Vistula near Wilków. Catastrophic flooding deprived thousands of people of all their possessions and roofs over their heads. A few weeks later Zbigniew Czapla found a box of old photographs in his family house also ravaged by the element. The unique family mementoes left were destroyed by water, mud and mould. This film is a desperate attempt to keep memories, reconstruct people and events of the past. An impression on the transitory nature of memory, inevitability of fading and the destructive force of elements.

Papierowe pudelko (Paper Box)

My Face is in Space

In 1977 NASA sent a Golden Record into space. It encapsulated the greatest achievements of humanity and included photographs of its species. One of these photos is of Larry, he hopes this will propel him to the status of Earth Ambassador. This is Larry’s intergalactic story of life and love.

My Face is in Space

Illustration Compostage

Composting helps the Earth to grow, it helps life to grow. This docu-animation film explores, via 3 month of photos taken once every two hours, how the passing of time turns a dying world into a new one, a current one, and a fertile one.

Illustration Compostage

It Has Already Been Ended Before You Can See the End

A film about “the end” . The end has already started, and ended. We call it “the end” in order to perceive it and make it “visible” , but it had already passed when we called it “the end” , or “the end” is always penetrating the present, so we can not recognize time of the end. The end has already started, and ended. The disaster of an earthquake and nuclear crisis in 2011 Japan affected a lot to making art works. This work is a first film of the series called “PIXCANNING” . The word “PIXCANNING” is coined from “pix(picture / pixel)” and “scanning” . It’ s a method to scoop up(scanning) elements that pass through the meshes of perception(pixel) when images(picture) appear or images are constructed.

It Has Already Been Ended Before You Can See the End

Microsculpture

Microsculpture is a unique visual experience. The beautifully lit, high magnification portraiture of Levon Biss captures the microscopic form of insects in striking high-resolution detail. The film shows Levon Biss and his pioneering photographic technique as he captures beautifully lit high magnification portraits of insects from the collection of Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Levon takes the genre of macro-photography to a new level as he captures in breath-taking detail the beauty of the insect world. The resulting high resolution images are composited from 8000 individual photographs. Microsculpture Exhibition is a unique photographic study of insects in mind-blowing magnification. A 10mm insect is shown as a 3-meter print in Microsculpture exhibition from 27th May until October 2016 at Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

Macrophotography, entomology and the juxtaposition of art and science, the exploration of detail and scale developed by photographer Levon Biss and his groundbreaking insect photography “Microsculpture”.

Microsculpture

Still Holding Still

The ghostly “invisible mothers” of early photography.

Still Holding Still

Hybridities: Almost Other

Growing a multispecies image of our body-subject.

Hybridities: Almost Other seeks to present revealing “biometric auto portraits” evoking both our human face and our invisible evolutionary counterpart, our microbiota, in order to re-evaluate what being human really means.

Hybridities: Almost Other

Phosphenes

Phosphenes blend 2D digital animation and photo-animation to explore the processes of developing thoughts and the understanding of birth, life, and death in the natural world.

Phosphenes

Chronogram of Inexistent Time

Chronogram is a photomontage that explores stillness, motion, and memory. Using a 35mm still camera, multiple exposures were composed and edited in-camera, creating frameless sequences of images printed on 35mm filmstrips. When projected, these images become a non-linear, non-synchronized collage. The ephemeral quality of the images — their transparency, layering, and repetition — invites us to reflect on the role memory plays in perception, the ways we mentally reconfigure fragments to construct stability and meaning in an environment of perpetual flux.

Chronogram of Inexistent Time

The Sasha

On 1972 the astronaut Charles Duke landed on the Moon on the Apollo XVI. He was in charge of taking photos of the lunar surface with a high-resolution camera.

‘The Sasha’ is a film about the human perspective on Earth and our constant struggle with our temporal and spatial limitations. From the exploration of space to cyberspace, from an analogue Moon in 1972 to a virtual Moon in Google Earth today. A story about parallel universes where eternity seems to be lost between frames and interfaces.

The Sasha

Time and Place, a talk with my mom

The mother of the filmmaker tells about how her life has gone when she first came to live in a poorly maintained canal house in Amsterdam fifty years ago. The rapid career of the father; the dramatic separation; her four children she raised alone; she tries to remember the whole story. But she doesn’t want her face in the picture and there are only a few photo’s. Her story is however told in a visual manner
using unorthodox reconstruction techniques. In the end not everything will be as ‘real’ as expected.

Time and Place, a talk with my mom

37/38 Tree Again

At the centre are takes which do not change — a tree in a field in Vermont, U.S.A. Since the film was shot over a period of fifty days, the single frame shots create a storm of picturesHans Scheugl.

“Tree again became one of Kren´s most beautiful works — although it is difficult to single out any individual work from a corpus of extraordinary density and variety which spans over thirty years and includes over 40 films. The tree, the field, the sky, in fact the entire picture radiates an unusual, almost eerie artistry, with its rapidly changing blue, green and reddish hues, sometimes brightly illuminated for the fraction of a second like the flash of lightening in a technicolor horror film. (…)An apocalyptic picture, yet one that is full of a wonderful, quiet beauty… “ Hans Hurch.

37/38 Tree Again

Obscura

Have you ever wondered how pictures are made? Obscura looks inside our camera to the creatures within, living lives defined by what they see through the lens. But what comes into focus when things change? The arrival of new camera components reveals the world is not as it seems. Are the photographs they produce really the whole picture?

Obscura

Earthbound

April 23: seen from a forestry road, a raven takes flight from a stand of pines. Behind it, in the middle of the woods, lies the carcass of a freshly killed deer. Obviously the work of coyotes whose songs can be heard at night. Surveillance cameras are set up awaiting their return. In the meantime, the regular visitors of these scenes come and go: ravens, vultures and other animals passing through. The months go by; the seasons transform the forest. The infrared cameras mechanically record the long parade of fauna that populate the area. By the end of the year, the accumulated images have given shape to a story. In parallel to our world, a deer has disappeared. We remain on the edge, distant witnesses to a continuing cycle. Left on the ground are but few traces, the last clues to an animal rite. Slowly, they are covered over by pine needles.

Earthbound

Nitrate

When the fireworks inflame the memory of a war survival.

Nitrate

Kodak

Kodak hired my father straight out of college in 1976 to work in their film processing labs. One year prior, a Kodak employee had invented the first digital camera. In 2012 Kodak went bankrupt, and today operates at a fraction of its former scale. Over the course of my father’s 30+ year career with the company, he worked amongst blind people who were hired to handle film in the dark due to their heightened tactile sense.

Rich, the protagonist of this video, is a hybrid of my father and an imagined character who worked in film processing at Kodak until a workplace accident left him blind. He then started working in the dark, packaging film with other blind Kodak employees until they were laid off as the company lurched towards bankruptcy. When we catch up with Rich, he’s been unemployed for ten years and seems to be gradually losing his mental faculties. He spends his time in the Rochester public library, shuttling back and forth through copies of tape recordings that Kodak founder George Eastman made near the end of his life in 1930. The story is told through Rich’s point of view.

Kodak

A Sentimental Science

How many neurons do you need to recognize your mother? “A Sentimental Science” explores the limitations of our understanding of how our experience is encoded in neural activity.

ISFF13 Symbiosis

A Sentimental Science

The End of Photography

The End of Photography’ is an elegy to film-based photography and especially to the darkroom. I made it at a time when it was becoming clear that digital photography was going to replace film photography both for the general public and for fine art photographers.

The End of Photography

Light Surfaces

Commissioned to make a short film “about photography” Cornish and Braun take an experimental, filmic examination of various forms of photography from the past 150 years, including a Daguerreotype, tintypes, wet collodion plates, glass negatives, 35mm slide film, polaroids and even a Maholy-Nagy photogram from museum and private archives in Berlin. By filming in extreme close-up, while shifting both subject and light, the materiality, structural depth and chemical decay of the photographs’ surfaces are revealed. Photographs appear as multifaceted singular objects in their own right and not “mere reproductions”.

Light Surfaces

Kodachrome 2010

In commemoration of its 75th and final year, a documentary look at the first color film and the last lab in the world to process it.

Kodachrome 2010

Selfies

In a veritable firework display of digital selfport-raits, hundreds of quaint, embarrassing and dread-fully disturbing selfies were arranged in a unique short film composition. Single photos, artistically reworked, consolidate to form a ghastly grin that outshines the abyss of human existence.

Selfies

Grain Graphics

Dana Plays’ classic experimental film Grain Graphics with beat poet Michael McClure his poetry on the sound track. This is the new re-released film was remastered from 16mm to 2K. Grain Graphics won First Prize at the Poetry Film Festival, run by Poet Herman Berlandt in San Francisco.) It was aired on KQED, won First Prize San Francisco Art Institute Film Festival; Cash Award, Sinking Creek Film Celebration; was also shown at the University Film Association National Conference, Austin Texas and the NYU Experimental Film Workshop. The film was also screened at several other film festivals including Sinking Creek, and Ann Arbor.

“Another entirely structural film is Grain Graphics, which begins with two frames of a film strip, on above the other, occupying the middle of the screen, flanked by two vertical filmstrips with smaller frames. In grainy negative, a small number of figures interact in various ways in each of the frames. Gradually, as if the camera were drawing away, this pattern grows smaller and its units increase correspondingly in number, until at the end there appear to be hundreds of rectangles, all with figures busy in motion.
- Written by Edgar Daniels

Grain Graphics is Archived by Academy of Motion Picture Sciences

Grain Graphics

Forget Me Not

Photograph seems like a “ mirror with memory”. Yet what happens if herself never coincides with her image…

‘Forget Me Not” is a short story about a puppet-like girl, Leyla Çiftçıkmaz who is obsessed with taking photographs of herself and an old-wise antique shop owner, Koper Kırıkkanat who is collecting old dispossessed photographs. Everytime Leyla takes a Polaroid photo of herself, she encounters portraits of strangers! Fortunately antique shop owner knows by heart one of the strangers she sees in her self portraits. “Forget Me Not” seeks theme of death in old Photographs. Mostly inspired by the French philosopher Roland Barthes’s famous book Camera Lucida, the film seeks to be like a visual poem narrating the mental journeys of the characters.

Forget Me Not

Pebbles

I often find photos of strangers in the streets…

Pebbles

Nijuman No Borei (200 000 fantômes / 200 000 Phantoms)

Nijuman No Borei (200 000 Phantoms) questions our relationship to History by assembling archival images and photographs of Hiroshima and the dome of Genbaku, the editing of which creating a sort of memorial ballad in the heart of the city from 1944 to 2006.

Nijuman No Borei (200 000 fantômes / 200 000 Phantoms)

Crianças Fantasmas (Ghost Children)

Ghost Children presents seven reminiscences of early childhood, read in seven different voices, as the camera presses close against the faded dye and exaggerated grain of family photographs from the early 1980s. Whose faces and memories are those? The film encourages the audience to interrogate assumptions about gender, memory, performance, and death.

Crianças Fantasmas (Ghost Children)

L’ouroboros

Journey through family photo album.

L’ouroboros

Begone Dull Care

In this extraordinary short animation, Evelyn Lambart and Norman McLaren painted colours, shapes, and transformations directly on to their filmstrip. The result is a vivid interpretation, in fluid lines and colour, of jazz music played by the Oscar Peterson Trio.

Begone Dull Care

Camera Men

In this film, On the Spot series host Fred Davis sets out to learn about the art of photography. Amateur, commercial, news and portrait photographers discuss the tricks of their trade when Davis pays them a visit: Louis Jacques does a photo story on pianist Oscar Peterson, while Ottawa’s Yousuf Karsh explains how he clicks the shutter at famous people and, illustrating his point, snaps Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent’s portrait.

Camera Men

Notman’s World

This documentary short is a portrait of Canadian photographer William Notman. Photography was still in its infancy when he opened his first studio in Montreal in the late 1850s. He rapidly turned his art, and a budding technology, into a highly successful business. Within 5 years he was appointed Photographer to the Queen. Not content with doing mere portraiture, he saw photography as a means of documenting history. With the use of props in his studio, composite photographs, and calling on his background as a trained artist, Notman immortalized the people and places of Canada.

Notman’s World

Picturing a People: George Johnston, Tlingit Photographer

This documentary, by filmmaker Carol Geddes, is a unique portrait of George Johnston, a photographer who was himself a creator of portraits and a keeper of his culture. Johnston cared deeply about the traditions of the Tlingit people, and he recorded a critical period in the history of the Tlingit nation. As Geddes says, his legacy was “to help us dream the future as much as to remember the past.”

Picturing a People: George Johnston, Tlingit Photographer

Street Ghosts

A post-digital action realized in Barcelona.

Street Ghosts

To the light 1.0

Fantasy of love and the loss over the light and the image.

To the light 1.0

165708

Shot entirely in 16mm black-and-white film using single-frame photography, “165708” employs in-camera techniques and chemical manipulation of processed film to produce an eidetic study of temporal elasticity. Techniques include flicker, time-lapse, light painting, stop motion, tinting, and toning. Combined with cycles of alternating exposed frames, these methods imbue the work with a rhythmic magnetism, apparent both in the tempo and the aesthetic of the images. Exploring the capacity of the medium to express various notions of time, the film begins with a woman looking out from the shoreline. This acts as a point of departure to disparate yet interconnected sequences which prompt the viewer to engage in a structurally unique mode of inquiry and experience. A dynamic original score by the acclaimed composer Graham Stewart accompanies the film.

Award for Best Experimental, Ann Arbor Film Festival, 2018

Selected Screenings: Festival International du Films sur l’Art , Montreal, QC, 2018; Pleasure Dome New Toronto Works, Toronto, ON, 2018; Internacional Festival Signos de la Noite Lisbon, Portugal, 2017; Torino Film Festival, Italy, 2017; Ohio Independent Film Festival , Cleveland, OH, 2017; Signes de Nuit Paris, France, 2017

165708

Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope explores depression in an otherwise vibrant life. It is an original film poem edited to 16mm hand-processed B&W film that has been manipulated through tinting, toning and other cameraless techniques to reflect the fluctuations of living with a mood disorder. Footage collected during the Film for Artists and Film Farm residencies in 2016.

Kaleidoscope

Reframe

8 stereoscopic slides taken to the jk-104 optical printer, shot frame by frame, by hand. This is the first hand processed color film I’ve made. The slides were found at a thrift store in Milwaukee, WI in 2009. They are of Cuba between 1948 and 1950 taken by an army officer while accompanied by his family. Their touristic gaze is reclaimed, by fragmenting their photographs into new possibilities of the frame, and reviving the bodies that may have perished by the revolution in 1952.

Reframe

Solarization

An experiment in solarization filmed at the Independent Imaging Retreat in Mount Forest, Canada.

Solarization

W O W (Kodak)

“Five… four… three… two… one,” chants an older man into the microphone. He replaces the obligatory unspoken “zero” of the countdown with a dynamic backward twist of his upper body. The point of his finger, which twists backward with him, provokes a change in the shot to reveal the view of a bulging baroque dust cloud being sucked inside a building by a nearly unstoppable force, from which, in a din, an imposing structure in its entire, undamaged splendor emerges. This process occurs five times altogether from various perspectives and distances. One seems reminded of the legendary explosion at the end of Michelangelo Antonioni´s Zabriskie Point, but with a decisive difference: Viktoria Schmid re-demolishes. Her working material comprises private recordings from viewers who witnessed the demolition of the building parts of the Eastman Kodak company complex in Rochester and published their self-filmed documentary clips onto YouTube. Many of them had worked in the factory, which makes them witnesses to the destruction of their former workplace. Viktoria Schmid compiled the clips and played them backwards. In the regenerative movement, the implosion turns into an act of constituting. And thus, the reducing to rubbles of the building parts becomes a spectacular reconstruction, accompanied by the amazed shouts of the audience (“WOW” is the palindrome of the moment!). In this way, using digital means, a party-like tribute is paid to the glorious resurrection of the factory for color-sensitive analogue film. (Melanie Letschnig)

W O W (Kodak)

Sauvez l’Abominable (Save l’Abominable)

Meant to promote L’abominable in La Courneuve/ Paris — an independent lab where filmmakers can process, print, digitize etc. their works, now in danger of losing its premises. An anonymous visitor makes a generous donation.
Maybe the film can inspire others to give. Or at least introduce them to the lab. (Friedl vom Gröller)

Sauvez l’Abominable (Save l’Abominable)

A Venture into Vegan Filmmaking

From 4.- 8. March 2019 filmmakers Esther Urlus and Josephine Ahnelt set out to create handmade vegan black and white 16mm negative film material. Replacing the Gelatin in the film emulsion with PVA (Polyvinyl Alcohol) wanting to prove the point that a vegan alternative for analogue film material is possible.
After multiple attempts they managed to produce an image. A Venture into Vegan Filmmaking shows their final results.

A Venture into Vegan Filmmaking

Die Liebenden / The Lovers

The Lovers is the second part of a small trilogy, dealing with the extinction of memories. In the first part, The Bathers, the two protagonists were subject to the chemical decomposition of the film material. The Lovers, on the other hand, transforms an old Super8 porn film into both a tragic love story and a horror movie, and finally into a memory, that is being destroyed in the inner world.

(Viennale 04)

Die Liebenden / The Lovers

Die Badenden / The Bathers

An exhilarating dance of spots of color and traces of wear and decomposition. The abstract earth-colored texture is reminiscent of Stan Brakhage´s work. But wait:
A live image shimmers from the background. A woman, dressed in bathing suit and cap, swims laps nonchalantly. The easy-listening music of the soundtrack lends a pleasant atmosphere to the scene. But this afternoon idyll does not last long: The soundtrack abruptly turns ominous, the film becomes a bad trip. The woman is about to be drawn into the gorge of a menacing growth of amorphous shapes which increases in size rapidly. But then the deus ex machina intervenes with a protecting hand. Vertical destabilization of the picture makes it swing and jump wildly, apparently this direct interaction is the only way to save her. Her husband, who has been filming the scene from a porch swing, dives into the pool to help. And disappears. Johannes Hammel adheres to an esthetic strategy frequently employed by the avant-garde: extremely self-reflexive post-processing of found footage. At the same time he employed an established motif often varied down through the history of art.
A considerable number of artists have employed swimmers in their works, such as the Impressionists, Picasso and Matisse. Hammel´saffinity for painting is made obvious by Bathers in a particular way: in the cross-hatching, scratches and crusts which are apparently meant to resemble craquelure or severely damaged paintings.
The Bathers is intended to be a diverting etude which poses enduring questions concerning decay and transience, in particular with regard to the material employed as a foundation. As a vacation film it belongs to a genre which has usually remained hidden: in private possession, collecting dust in living rooms, wasting away, in the process of disappearing.
(Lukas Maurer)

Die Badenden / The Bathers

Jour Sombre

When filmmakers use existing footage as a raw material for their work and subject it to, for example, physical and chemical processes, the original material’s narrative remnants resist deformation and abstraction, thereby producing a new subtext.
This is the case with Johannes Hammel’s three-part Jour Sombre. He employed home movies shot in the 1950s and ’60s, of trips into the mountains, hikes across a glacier, alpine huts and lakes.
We see groups of people spread out across the alpine landscape, in the background the dazzling white of the sun’s bright reflection from a glacier. Binoculars are pointed upward. At the sky, or the sun?
Then a bubble appears, filling the picture and virtually swallowing the landscape. There’s a glare, as if a ray of light reflected from the ice were burning directly into the camera lens or our retina. Other bubbles follow, and the entire scene begins to boil. Heinz Ditsch’s soundtrack encourages this unsettling scenario.
In the next part a swimming woman is harassed by nicks and scratches covering large areas, and what was originally idyllic becomes fractured and furrowed like dried clods of dirt. The soundtrack provides fitting crackling and scraping.
The entire film is black and white, as are the increasing number of chemical manipulations Hammel subjects his material to. At the same time he consciously dispenses with the rich color of dissolving emulsions and steers the spectator’s concentration toward the variety of forms created by the disintegration process. Because of the material selected and the motif of the image’s surface “warming up,” immediate references to contemporary reality suggest themselves, and “melting” becomes an allegory for global climate change.
Then, when in the third part the image of the idyllic alpine hut gradually melts away and small, amoeba-like particles crowd into the cracks and fissures produced as a result, associations with the evolution of new microorganisms in times of ecological change can no longer be ignored.
(Gerald Weber)

Jour Sombre

The Ritual of Colour (El Ritual del Color)

The materiality of reversal-film material is being portrayed. This analogue technology, with its exposed chemical skeleton is clashing in an anachronistic filmic gag with contemporary digital animation. Colour is presented not as a natural, but a highly constructed medium in the expierence of film.
El Ritual del Color is a short experimental-essay which is questioning canonized and hegemonic film-rituals used to build and test cinematic-images. (L.O.C.)

The Ritual of Colour (El Ritual del Color)

Phantom Ride Phantom

From a “simple” camera pan through a journey into a ghostly realm, to a veritable trip: Phantom Ride Phantom carries out these three steps with cinematographic verve and great technical finesse. At the same time, the starting point for this phantom of a cinematic ghost ride is a single freeze frame, taken with a half-frame camera on an abandoned train track near Toulouse. The row of tracks, overgrown in gaudy red and green, arranged along a central perspective and at first, pulsating gently on its own, shapes the matrix of a continuously disruptive split image. Shots taken from a train window are fed into the dynamically pulsating flow — a snowy landscape passing by in changing directions, divided throughout by a striking split in the middle. A true spectral image–counter-image staccato unfolds around this central divide, in homage to a Ken Jacobs “phantom ride” film. Left to right, freeze frame and moving image, driving direction and opposite direction, added to that, opposing motifs (train versus forested nature) — Phantom Ride Phantom arranges all of these contrasts in a frenetic flux around the fissure made visible here, which the cinematic perspective continually splits open within itself. At the same time, this empty middle is cross-faded in second-by-second succession, once by a tree, then one of the tracks, and finally, a seductive light at the end of a tunnel intervening ever more psychedelically into the film. An underworld of images, which refuses to come to rest; perception begins to establish itself until, following a final, metallic eruption and short flickering phase, the original image (shaking) becomes visible. Phantom Ride Phantom thus traverses more than 100 years of avant-garde history in compressed form, and insinuates that the journey is, by no means, over. (Christian Höller)

Phantom Ride Phantom

Exterior Extended

Siegfried A. Fruhauf´s Exterior Extended is a prime example of an artistic strategy whereby a maximum effect is achieved through the combination of a minimum of individual elements. A 35mm film with thirty–six photos on it suffices as starting material for a stringent study on the theme of spatial perception in film. As motif, Fruhauf takes a dilapidated ruin of a house in the countryside wildly overgrown with plants. He photographs exclusively from the inside to the outside, ground level, through frameless window openings, which are consistently visible in the photos. This hereby frames the individual landscape photos, and clearly defines the border between inside and outside.
Fruhauf worked out the photo series digitally, layering the photos systematically, both positive as well as negative, multiply on top of one another. The result of this working process can be experienced twice in a row in Exterior Extended, separated by a shot of a human birth, which appears briefly. The sharp contrast black–and–white film develops a strong vacuum effect due to the image layering and montage, which is additionally highlighted by the rhythmic, synthetic, minimal soundtrack. In his work, Fruhauf continues concepts of structural film by combining the classical, historical mediums of film and photography with digital image processing methods. In Exterior Extended the filmmaker drafts an experimental battle painting by allowing the opponents to appear on screen: black vs. white, positive vs. negative, inside vs. outside, nature vs. architecture, analogue vs. digital, freeze frame vs. motion picture, and 2D vs. 3D.
(Norbert Pfaffenbichler)
Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt

Interior and exterior space blur in a frenzied staccato layering of digital imagery, creating the film’s distinctive sphere of subjective experience. The spectator penetrates the medium’s imaginary interior — drawn in by the undertow of glimmering pictures. A subtle game of perception assembled from 36 individual frames. (S. Fruhauf)

Exterior Extended

Blow-Up

With extraordinary verve, Siegfried A. Fruhauf has made a name for himself in contemporary Austrian filmmaking in only a few short years. Fruhauf not only carries on the fertile tradition of avant-garde filmmakers from Upper Austria (Kubelka, Export, Weibel and Brehm, to name a few), he has also succeeded in discovering an approach to “structural” filmmaking which never fails to surprise.
Fruhauf´s films follow a discernible order, a concept which is worked out in advance. What was considered an “avant-garde” panacea in the late 70s, which more often than not turned into sheer academicism, is in his case broken up with humor. Fruhauf´s films are made with a wink and a nudge, and they draw their strength from an unbounded joy in experimentation with the material.
The raw material used in Blow-up comprises two shots from an old educational film about first aid: A man demonstrates mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on a life-size dummy; the dummy´s chest rises and falls.
Fruhauf introduces this scene into his own métier, turning the “blow-up” metaphor into an image with a false bottom. With the aid of a digital photocopier, the strip of film was reduced in size to a narrow ribbon, and Blow-up shows this transformation in reverse: The ribbon is resuscitated, swelling gradually until the initial image is recognizable and, in the end, fills the screen. And this would not be a Fruhauf work if this educational film on the cinematographic body did not conclude with a roguish smile….
(Peter Tscherkassky)

Blow-Up indexes the defilement of celluloid within a breathy rhythm that duly organizes the representational ensemble. Défilement is liberated from the dispositif’s fatality and the emblematic “24 times a second” of the image, cinema’s motor-energy then coming from a deeper, more perennial site: rhythm, even (we must say) the original ruthmos, which guides the mouths in Blow-Up to open and shut, the images to expand and retract, phenomena to beat and pulse.
(Nicole Brenez)

Blow-Up

Vintage Print

Medial triptych through time as stunning journey of discovery: a photographic landscape scenario starts to become animated to the rhythm of crickets´ chirping; hops back and forth and over the course of the work runs through mutations that originate, on the one hand, in the filmic medium, and on the other hand, the digital. Where picture succeeds picture and a stroboscopic flicker and the patina of a filmstrip are discernable, we glide into the medial rhythm — temporality — of analogue film. Where the image stacks up and becomes temporalized mainly through pixel mutations, the digital algorithms can be perceived in the duration of the work.

The delirious beauty of Vintage Print arises from this trinity: photography, film, and digital image. That which, in chronological order, decisively changed and determined our perception of the world over the past ca. 150 years, appears here condensed in thirteen minutes — first one after the other, then entirely overlapped and merged into one another. In a certain sense, an experience of time is generated here that is more than the sum of its medial parts, a meditative unrest, which is both intellectual and sensual. The encounter with Vintage Printresembles a high-frequency permanent vacillation of audiovisual affects, which make us dizzy and at the same time, radiates the calm of a landscape: bathing in the swirl of medial phenomena, we hear people talking and laughing, a helicopter tears apart the sky. The pounding noise of its blades brings to mind horses galloping towards us from a distance, and thereby once again, on the speeding up of the individual images by means of the apparatus.

(Alejandro Bachmann)

Vintage Print

Still Dissolution

he title of this miniature heralds a series of tensions for which Siegfried A. Fruhauf has found a new form: Still Dissolution measures the relationship between photography and film, standstill and motion, formation and dissolution, now and then, and material reality and illusion, and does so in an interplay of analogue and digital visual technologies.
Four color prints from the holiday photo genre are filmed individually and arranged alongside one another on a split screen. Although the digital, high-resolution film recordings are subjected to a steady game of here again — gone again within a gently vibrating, increasingly pulsating, flickering composition, at the same time, this undermines the pictorial movement depicted in each of the individual fields, namely, the slow fading away of the photographic, pre-cinematic carrying material. In the melting process, unique, seemingly dynamic bubbles, blotches, and streaks emerge whose changing forms and colors gradually dissolve the photographed seaside landscapes. Appearing in the end are moving diagrams from a medical imaging process that shows the heartbeat in vivo.
The film thereby re-surveys the artistic position of Hollis Frampton, who as “meta-historian,” assigned film to the machine era and associated the American avant-garde with its becoming obsolete in the radar era. More than forty years after Frampton’s Nostalgia, Fruhauf once again uses burning photographs to question the cinematographic structure of temporal processes. But he is less concerned with examining the relationship of word and image with which present and past are defined in film: all that can be heard in Still Dissolution is humming and rhythmic droning. The media archeological accent is now on the burning of the archive whose technical basis, as is known, determines the life of the images.

(Christa Blümlinger)

Still Dissolution

Schwere Augen (Remastered ) — Heavy Eyes (Remastered)

Producing a film includes the essential process of creating copies. Duplication is built into the medium itself and moreover, it constitutes an elaborate and decisive phase in the creative realization of a film. The footage of HEAVY EYES (Schwere Augen) evolved over the course of many copy generations and a number of different motion picture formats. From 16 mm found footage to DV-Cam to VHS, from VHS through a wide variety of digital file codecs, all the way to the striking of a 35 mm film print which constituted the final format of the work. Unfortunately, 35 mm film projection is no longer a standard available to all movie houses. For this reason, I increasingly allowed the film to be shown as a video instead of its intended final format. But I was always dissatisfied. So a revised version has now been created, allowing for a digital high definition projection that has conceptual integrity. The transition to this medium has created an entirely different experience. Though nothing has significantly changed in terms of content, HEAVY EYES has become a new work. (Siegfried A. Fruhauf)

Schwere Augen (Remastered ) — Heavy Eyes (Remastered)

31/75 Asylum

The camera with a sun shade is mounted on a heavy tripod in front of a window. Over 21 consecutive days the view outside is filmed from this perspective. The same three rolls of film (totalling 90 m) are used one after the other each day while the mask in front of the camera lens is changed every day. Each of the 21 masks made of black cardboard has four or five small rectanglular openings: all these openings together would clear the full view. For each take (one day) not only the mask is used, but sometimes the diaphragm is closed completely. This change differs from take to take. For instance, on the first day the mask is used from meters 1 to 21 then the diaphragm of the lens is closed until meter 28. The diaphragm is then again opened from meters 29 to 42, etc. For the 14th take however the diaphragm is only opened after 20 meters so that the change from open to closed diaphragm takes place at different meter values. The picture is changing constantly. Sometimes only a portion of the emulsion is exposed, the other area remains unexposed. At 21 meters the whole picture can be seen for the first time, consisting of all the openings of the masks. Towards the end of the film the unmasked view is shown for a short moment. Since the weather was changing throughout the time of shooting (March/April) the brightness of the picture is very different from take to take. Sometimes snow is seen on the ground. The transformations of a landscape within 21 days are shown simultaneously in a static image. The exchange of the masks does create movement, but not as a course of time towards a goal.
(Birgit Hein, 1977)

31/75 Asylum

Closed Circuit

Sasha Pirker´s conceptual experiment Closed Circuit, 2013 is a meeting of two analog formats — Polaroid and 16mm film — as well as of the predetermined units of time and the aesthetic aspects inherent in each material. In this work, the development time of Polaroid images correlates with the predetermined length of a 16mm film reel, which is three minutes — exactly the length of Pirker´s single-take film. The subject gradually peels itself into the picture, revealing a woman with a movie camera, or perhaps even the production process itself. The short, very concise film thus makes it possible to directly observe the development of a photographic image in an ambiguous gesture — the process of developing a static image using moving images — thus causing the viewer to reconsider the specifics of the respective media (photography and film) that have been directly interwoven in this piece.

Closed Circuit

The Old Photographer

An affectionate portrait of ninety-year-old Indian photographer G. M. Ahuja, who still lives in the once popular photographic studio in downtown Yangon that his father opened almost a century ago.

The Old Photographer

Morning Lemon

An oversea phone call, a supposition and a totally wrong assumption, leads in this animation film to the inevitable. But what is there to expect, words are totally personal, and therefore actually not suitable for communication. So welcome to the age of email, mobile phones, internet, chat and game-consoles! Where the amount of face to face contact is minimized to a level where a paramecium would look like a communication miracle.

Morning Lemon

Abraxas

Images photographed among sites of family heritage in the Czech Republic are layered and manipulated through digital processes in a visual meditation on thresholds of past and present.

Abraxas

Hauts-de-France

What starts out as a straight forward documentary on carrier pigeons turns into a subtle investigation of France’s reaction to terror, the migrant crisis, and lost traditions. This short hand-made film, entirely processed in red wine, surveys the area surrounding the Calais ‘jungle’ and allows the unique chemistry to stain our reading of the light and landscapes of Northern France while we share the carnival nightmares, nostalgia, and growing anxiety of an American filmmaker far from home.

Hauts-de-France

Photographer

the story of an old photographer who saw an angel

Photographer

To the light 2.0z

Fantasy of love and the loss over the light and the image.

To the light 2.0z

A Sicilian Flea

A love story with a twist based on fin-de-siècle postcards.
Film dedicated to anonymous or forgotten artists
whose work inspired the Surrealists.

A Sicilian Flea

A Found Beach — Omnibus

I’m particularly interested in the memory carried by old postcard.

Most of these postcards were bought in some souvenir shop in a resort somewhere. I guess that people who appear on those old postcards do not notice they are being photographed. And one cannot guess where, how and when the postcard was taken.

And then, you can take various memories (the ones on those postcards) in your hand, over the years. Postcards give material existence to the memory.

I got this idea from the news after 2011 earthquake in Japan.

It reported that masses of photographs were found in crushed houses, which had been swept away by the tsunami. Postcards put memories of places and people, friends or family, on paper.

A Found Beach — Omnibus

Zoopraxiscope

Life as a theatre of its own. A film inspired by the photographs of Eadweard Muybridge (1830 -1904), the pioneer and the inventor of zoopraxiscope — a device for projecting motion pictures.

Zoopraxiscope

O clique único de Assis Horta

Documentary about the Minas Gerais photographer Assis Horta, who immortalized the architectural heritage and society of Diamantina. The great impulse of his career came in 1943, with the Consolidation of Labor Laws, promulgated by Getúlio Vargas.

O clique único de Assis Horta

How to use an Afghan Box Camera “kamra-e-faoree”

Afghanistan is one of the last places on earth where photographers used a simple type of instant camera called the kamra-e-faoree for means of making a living. The hand-made wooden camera is both camera and darkroom in one and generations of Afghans have had their portraits taken with it, usually for identity photographs. At one stage it was even outlawed when former rulers of Afghanistan, the Taliban, banned photography, forcing photographers to hide or destroy their tools.

In this film, Qalam Nabi, one of the last remaining box camera photographers in Kabul demonstrates how to use his camera.

The film is part of the Afghan Box Camera Project, it provides a record of the kamra-e-faoree (instant camera) which as a living form of photography is on the brink of disappearing in Afghanistan. It was shot in 2014.

Find out more about the subject on www.afghanboxcamera.com

How to use an Afghan Box Camera “kamra-e-faoree”

City of Photos

City of Photos explores the little known ethos of neighborhood photo studios in Indian cities, discovering entire imaginary worlds in the smallest of spaces. Tiny, shabby studios that appear to be stuck in a time warp turn out to be places throbbing with energy. As full of surprises as the people who frequent these studios are the backdrops they enjoy posing against and the props they choose. These afford fascinating glimpses into individual fantasies and popular tastes. Yet beneath the fun and games runs an undercurrent of foreboding.

Not everyone enjoys being photographed; not every backdrop is beautiful; not all photos are taken on happy occasions. The cities in which these stories unfold themselves become backdrops, their gritty urban reality a counterpoint to the photo palaces. Desires, memories and stories, all so deeply linked to the photographic experience, come together as part of a personal journey into the city of photos.

City of Photos

Hanasaari A

Hanasaari A is an experimental documentary about the demise of the old coal power plant of Hanasaari island and the irreversible change in the cityscape of Helsinki, Finland. The film is based on half a million photographs from the last two years of the power plant’s life.

Hanasaari A

Fotojeni

Pixelized details about a man who has strange hobbies.

Fotojeni

Labocine is an Imagine Science Films initiative to extend our film programming to a broader and more diverse audience. We have over 2,000 film titles from 200 countries for all ages brought to you by artists, scientists, filmmakers and educators.

By experimenting with cinematic form and style, we are committed to provoking scientific intrigue and understanding, always ensuring compelling and well-founded narratives. Periodically, we release Spotlights online. On the first Tuesday of every month, enjoy our issue selections which complement newsworthy science by proposing a surgically curated online festival. From documentary to fiction to lab footage, we hope to always challenge the way you understand, interpret and appreciate scientific ideas and perspectives.

Submissions: If you would like to submit a film or propose a program for Spotlights, write to us at film@labocine.com

Stay tuned and email us for more information at info@labocine.com.

A new platform for films from the science new wave. From lab footage to documentary to fiction, we are home to over 2,000 science films from over 100 countries.

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