From: Ben Barton (email suppressed)
Date: Fri Oct 30 2009 - 16:01:55 PDT
I have read these emails with great interest - I’ve been planning to bury some film for some time.
I would really like some advice - I have a 50ft reel of (developed) super 8. How long would people recommend I bury it for? I want a noticeably decayed effect on the processed image.
I remember once watching an old super 8 film which was decomposed - it appeared to have green litchen all over it – but I think it was mold.
What about if I sprayed it with yoghurt first - to develop mold - has anyone done this?
Also, would you bury it spun on the reel? Or loose?
Sorry for the ‘stupid’ questions… only I want to get it right without f**king it up!
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Tom B Whiteside" <email suppressed>
> To: email suppressed
> Subject: Re: Burying Film
> Date: Fri, 30 Oct 2009 16:03:29 -0400
> I want to put film in my barrel-style composter. Any suggestions?
> For one thing, I can't see how it will help your compost. As for the
> process of making experimental film, there are all kinds of ways of
> torturing and distressing film to see what it will yield, a lot has been
> done with this and surely a lot more will be done. But isn't it true that
> in most cases the material that is buried (abused, abandoned, whatever)
> is, for the purpose of making art, rephotographed or copied onto fresh
> stock that will run more smoothly on a projector?
> In these cases, why is the distressed material film? Why not photograph
> the mold on old shower curtains, or the surfaces of well-circulated coins?
> Why not let a plateful of spaghetti rot and photograph it with a camera
> each day for a month (yes, I know it's been done before) or let some odd
> pieces of lumber sit out in the weather for twenty years and make an image
> every week, or bury some handmade paper and then make a film of
> that......... Is it simply that people are interested in watching a record
> of violence against the emulsion (and base) itself? Why do we have to
> continue to kill the old medium, or draw attention to the fact that it is
> decrepit? It's not just experimental film - I can't believe how many faked
> out "distressed film" looks I see on teevee.
> I suppose there is economic sense in making what we might call "reversal"
> distressed film, where the material that is buried is the same material
> that you put on the projector - you don't have to pay for anything. This
> can work fine if you clean it up and keep the perfs reasonably intact.
> Most people can lay their hands on SOME kind of 16mm film absolutely free
> of charge, any previously recorded image can be erased and you start again
> on blank plastic, there are no lab fees, you don't need a camera or a
> computer or anything. But how many people are making truly unique films -
> in the sense that there is no copy, only the distressed original?
> As many have pointed out before - for decades already ! ! - we are
> working in the age of the pathology of film. This notion of burying film
> is so pervasive. Where does this impulse originate? Interesting to note
> that for most of film history, MUCH more film has been cremated than
> I don't want to be a voice saying "Don't do it," as I have nothing against
> anyone burying film, or developing film in strawberry jam, or anything
> else they want to try. I myself have not tried those two things, but I've
> done plenty else. So please, do compost your film if you want. At this
> point the whole enterprise reminds me of a curious nine year old who,
> having buried a family pet three years ago, wants to dig it up and take a
> look at the skeleton. He will probably learn something from it, and it
> might well be worth doing, but how many times?
> - Whiteside North Carolina
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.
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