Experimental Film Reel

"The transformed speaks only to relinquishers. All holders-on are stranglers."
Rilke scribbled this passage in 1917 in one of his previously unpublished diaries during a period in which he was waiting for what would become his masterworks to untangle themselves.

The motive is to examine human strife over our identities and our strides to affirm them using parallel rituals involving time, image and history. For example: The notion of suturing a moment to an object. To reckon with the transience of a captive moment, the film is developed by hand. The resulting film is laden with imperfections, non-archival and destined to fade. We let go, trading expectation for potential. After all, they're only images.


0.00 - 2.28

from: Slip Hope Hold: A Memorial to Fort Tau(gh)t Knot
Performance and Projection
16mm High Contrast Positive Film 5363/7363
Developed on site of production, Oxbow Inn, Michigan, Jan 08

Video is an early attempt at a performative screening of this film. Scattered parenthesis and the introduction of various fibers preclude the showing of the film, which is spliced into a loop after the title sequence.
The screening is over when the wear of the projector on the unwieldy film finally snaps the loop, or the projectionist does so himself.

Grasping, holding, slipping and tangling of knots can instill a cathartic familiarity with the struggle to produce and protect images as objects of survival.

2.30 - 3.07 from:
Twilight Quixotic (2007-)
16mm Color Reversal 5285/7285
Exploration of Chicago's post-industrial reservoirs evokes a disoriented paranoia over the direction of modern civilization. Here, a field of empty dumpsters is imagined as the horizontal inverse of a certain looming black tower.

3.08 - 4.01 from:
Flood & Flight, (2008-)
16mm Color Reversal 5285/7285
An investigation of the genealogy of Chicago's monumental lakefront architecture is interrupted by a concussion. New frustration with the colonial heritage that has given rise to such displays comes to the surface. An escapist reaction to these Columbian symbols chooses self-dissolution with respect to more naturally powerful bodies.

4.02 - 5.01 from:
Fleeting, (2009-)
16mm Color Reversal 5285/7285
Directed by: Malena Bergmann
Cinematography, Film Development, Editing by: Chris Thomas
in South Mountains, North Carolina

All images by Christopher Thomas

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