ARTISTS IN FOCUS: Sandra Gibson & Luis Recoder


ARTISTS IN FOCUS: Sandra Gibson & Luis Recoder
In the context of the Courtisane Festival 2012 (Gent, March 21 – 25).

Even though the often announced death of cinema may well be an overstatement, film seems irrevocably doomed. Nevertheless, or because of that reason precisely, a number of artists and filmmakers continue to stubbornly hang on to the film medium, as an inexhaustible source for magic and wonder. With their groundbreaking excursions into the realm of so-called “expanded cinema” Sandra Gibson (US, 1968) and Luis Recoder (US, 1971) have emerged as two of the most inspired and inventive film acolytes of their generation. Since their first meeting in 2000 they have been producing numerous installations and performances that make full use of the optical and mechanical qualities of film projection. Using 16mm and 35mm projectors, celluloid strips, deviating lenses and manual interventions they create elusive and hypnotic light sculptures, which transform the projection room into a sensual three dimensional experience. During the Courtisane Festival they will present their new performance as well as some installation works and a film programme that pays homage to the work of one of their principal “teachers”, Paul Sharits.



WED 21.03, 20:30 VOORUIT (DOMZAAL)

Aberration of Light: Dark Chamber Disclosure
Projector Performance by Sandra Gibson, Olivia Block & Luis Recoder

For the opening of the festival, Courtisane presents the new film performance by Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder. Their research on light as an optical phenom- enon revolves this time around the light play of two 35mm projectors, fractured and dispersed by a series of lenses. The performance makes the most of the in- trinsic properties of the “changeover” system which in film theaters is used to project two film reels the one right after the other. The result is a stimulating and enigmatic game of filmic illusion and desillusion. This is the second projects that Gibson and Recoder have created in collaboration with Olivia Block (US), whose sound work seeks to examine and redefine the limits of the cinematographic experience. Block began her jour- ney into music as a pop musician, until she turned to field recordings in the 1990s. Since then she has devel- oped a unique musical language, in which she brings to- gether refined textures of environmental material with raw noise and an elegant instrumental sound architec- ture, in which wind instruments are predominant. Com- positional ordering and digital processing enter into an absorbing dialogue with the natural world.



Carte Blanche to Sandra Gibson & Luis Recoder
FRI 23.03, 20:00 SPHINX

REPROJECTION: Paul Sharits and the analytical film

“I’m intrigued with parthenogenesis, which has some relation to the new film, and toyed with the thought of titling the film REPROJECTION; before then I had decided that since the film was being structured in a way which might be thought of as non-algebraically tautologic, I would title it PROJECTIONPROJECTION; now it seems better to return to my first title: either PRINT PROJECTION or simply PROJECTION.”
Paul Sharits (‘Correspondence with Stan Brakhage’)

Analytical Studies II: Unframed Lines
US, 1971-1976, silent, 25′

“Most of my films set up an experiential field wherein the film is not constantly imposing itself on you yet has enough consistency that you can “move through” yourself rather than just follow the development of the film. All the films have a little bit to do with meditation. These locational works become the ultimate field for that kind of contemplative reflection. It becomes like watching fireflies or water flowing over a dam – something that’s moving. A fire or a candle flame – it’s shifting – but it doesn’t change its form dramatically”. – Paul Sharits (‘An Interview with Paul Sharits’ by Linda Cathcart)

Color Sound Frames
US, 1974, sound, 26′

“Other works of the past few years are composed by rephotographing strips of “flicker” footage in a home-made system, wherein the projector element has no shutter blade Pokies or gripper arm and thereby allows the “subjects” – the “flicker” film strips – to be observed as continuous strips of film, with their sprocket holes visible; not only is there a natural horizontal and vertical division of the frame but there is also possible a layering of color planes (when the strips are projected at a rapid speed and rephotographed, their differently colored frames begin to blur into each other, forming whole ranges of shimmering color bars and planes, several appearing at a time within the frame, some assuming dominance – like fundamental tones – while others pulse around/behind the dominants, as if they were their overtones). The works which are made this way [i.e., Color Sound Frames] are certainly more complex than I have described them: because their images “move” at varieties of speeds, contain superimpositions, have sound elements (sync-soundtracks of the sprocket hole images’ rates of passage), etc., these factors also contribute to the films’ total “chordal fabrics.” – Paul Sharits (‘Hearing: Seeing’)

Razor Blades
US, 1965-1968, optical sound, 25’

“Projection Instructions: two 1000’ reels to be projected side by side onto one very large screen or two normal size screens / projectors should be identical, same focal length lenses, same intensity bulbs, detachable speakers / each reel has its own soundtrack and both should be played full volume and full treble / detachable speakers must be placed one on each side of the room, half way between screen and projectors, for stereo effect / synch ‘left’ and ‘right’ reels by aligning title / credits which appear at beginning of each reel / proper reels for ‘right’ and ‘left’ projectors indicated on head leaders.”

Declarative Mode
US, 1976-1977, silent, 38’

“Projection Instructions: 1. place 2 projectors close, side by side; do not load film yet. 2. turn on bulbs and find less intense bulb – use that faint bulb for the inner image (it is important that the inner image be dimmer; if necessary put a neutral filter of about 1 stop in front of lens). 3. you MUST HAVE AT LEAST ONE ZOOM LENS, so that one image can be put inside the other (the precise proportion is shown in a drawing accompanying the prints); another way of doing this is to move one projector forward until the right size is reached – but this cannot be done in a projection booth because there is not enough space. 4. make sure that inner rectangle is precisely placed so that the top and bottom borders and the sides are exactly equal – there should be absolutely no keystoning – this is of IMPORTANCE. 5. thread film and go to the punch mark on each reel. 6.ADVANCE THE FOOTAGE FOR THE INNER SCREEN 24 frames AHEAD OF THE REEL FOR THE EXTERIOR IMAGE – THIS SLIGHT OUT-OF-SYNC IS CRUCIAL TO THE EFFECT OF THE FILM. 7. start both projectors at the exact same instant. 8. FOCUS BOTH PROJECTIONS ON THEIR EDGES – the sharpness of the edges is also crucial.”



Film Installation
THU 22.03 – SUN 25.03, 14:00-20:00 FREE VOORUIT (BRUGZAAL)

Open Screening

“In our installation work, we use projected light to ar- ticulate space and time. Film projectors and celluloid are the material base of our constructions in light and shadow, the elemental properties of cinema. These things are deeply imbued with a history of viewership in the dark of the theater. To remove it from darkness is to flood this history and cast a certain illumination upon it. A certain exposure. Light spills in the shifting of film from its native darkness in enclosed chambers (camera obscura) to the uncanny openness and defamiliarized illumination of installation. We are exploring the shift, elaborating the displacement, recasting the light mechanics of a peculiar estrangement of the medium. The art of cinema, yes. But more timely: the becoming cinema of art. That is the coming attraction for us.” (Gibson/Recoder)


FRI 23.03, 13:30 KUNSTTOREN Gent