pathology of film

From: Tom B Whiteside (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Jun 11 2006 - 10:14:41 PDT

David's idea below brings to mind an older one, forgive me for not having
the correct information on this but I'm sure someone can come up with the
title and artist. At the London Filmmakers Coop many years ago a woman ran
a long 16mm loop from the projector through a sewing machine and back
through the projector. (Was it clear leader? I think so. That would have
made it delightfully inclusive.) Of course the sewing machine punched
holes in the film, which got caught in the gate, which ripped the film,
which brought the whole thing to a halt. The event could not have lasted
very long, but the idea lingers. This has recently been a major theme in
experimental film and has shown up in any number of films and programs the
last decade, the degradation of emulsion and base, the fragility of film
stock over time, etc. The ephemeral nature of the medium has long been
worked by artists, even decades ago when it seemed that it might last

This is only going to last a while . . . (longer) . . . We are living in
the era of "a while . . . (longer) . . . " That's the pathology of film.

The choice of sewing maching was deliberate, as the connection has been
there since the late 19th century when Louis Lumiere borrowed a mechanical
movement from a sewing machine to make the Cinematographe. I realize that
David's idea - to let distribution and exhibition do the (destructive)
work - is different, but it is interesting how these ideas keep surfacing.


>Now there's a conceptual art /experimental film project: create a work in
>16mm designed to be destroyed over time by bad projection and inept
>splicing. The work would not be 'finished' until a certain extreme degree
>of random deterioration had occured over a number of years -- also

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