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Exposing time
The filmic image in nature

Stadt In Flammen, Schmelzdahin

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield
16 February 2008 | 2–5pm
Telephone: 01924 832631

Exposing Time is a special afternoon series of artists' film and video screenings about the interaction of the moving image with the elemental processes in nature. The works in the programme use film and video as a measure of not only time, but of the landscape itself and our relationship to it. From the literal scarring and decomposition of the image through direct exposure to earth, wind and water; to the organic interplay of the elements with the mechanics of the recording apparatus itself – all the works in the series depend upon the mutual participation of the maker with the unpredictable forces of nature.

Part 1:

Stadt In Flammen
Schmelzdahin, 1984, Germany, 5min, sound
The basis of this film by Jochen Müller, Jochen Lempert and Jürgen Reble is found footage from the French-Canadian feature film Ville en flamme. Before the pictures and soundtrack were reworked, the original footage was buried in the garden, deliberately exposed to bacteria and microbes, and copied when the emulsion began to liquefy. The dissolution of the images – that is, the visible decomposition of the layer of film bearing the pictures – provides a visual equivalent to the disaster that forms the subject of the original film.

What The Water Said
Nos 4–6, David Gatten, 2007, USA, 17min, sound
Strips of previously unexposed film went into the ocean and these fragments are what returned.
In this final instalment of a nine year project documenting the underwater world off the coast of South Carolina, both the sounds and images are the result of the oceanic inscriptions written directly into the emulsion of the film as it was buffeted by the salt water, sand and rocks; as it was chewed by the crabs, fish and underwater creatures. — David Gatten

Nathaniel Dorsky, 1976–87, USA, 28min, silent
Sand, wind, and light intermingle with the emulsions. The viewer is the star. — Nathaniel Dorsky

Fog Line
Larry Gottheim, 1970, USA, 11min, silent
One stares, one stares, and the fog begins to lift, the exquisite image reveals itself. The three patchy trees, the landscape lines, the tension lines, the moving ghost animals, the moving emulsion swirls, all impress themselves on consciousness, are consciousness. Still, rigid lines attempt to contain the amorphous elusive moving fog. Line nature competes with fog nature, but all is harmony, bathed in gorgeous paleness. — Larry Gottheim

Part 2:

Wind Vane
Chris Welsby, 1972, UK, 8min, sound, double screen
The location for this film is the western end of Hampstead Heath in London. Two cameras mounted on tripods with wind vane attachments were positioned about 50 feet apart along an axis of 45 degrees to the direction of the wind. Both cameras were free to pan through 360 degrees in the horizontal plane. There are three continuous 100 foot takes for each screen. The movements of the two cameras, which were filming simultaneously, were controlled by the wind strength and direction. The sound was recorded synchronously with the picture track and consists mainly of wind noise. — Chris Welsby

As We All Know
Alix Poscharsky, 2006, UK, 9min, silent
This film is a six hour time-lapse sun track, shot around sunset. With the sun locked in the middle, the earth appears to [be] moving from left to right across the frame (or around the sun). Referencing science fiction, this film is about the discrepancy of scientific world view and the everyday life. We know the earth is moving round the sun, but viewed from earth the sun appears to be moving round the earth. This film poses the question whether knowing (or 'seeing') is not just another form of believing, as, ultimately, what is shown in the film, is merely earth's rotations around its own axis. — Alix Poscharsky

Champ Provençal
Rose Lowder, 1979, France, 9min, silent
Champ Provençal presents a frame by frame construction of a peach orchard at three periods from a single viewpoint: With pink blossom (April 1), with green leaves (April 16) and with red-yellow peaches (June 24). — Rose Lowder

William Raban, 1970, UK, 4min, sound
The film alternates from recording in time-lapse (one frame every ten seconds) to running through the camera at 24 fps (regular speed). The film was made in a continuous heavy rainstorm, and the front element of the Angenieux lens accumulated drops of rain on its surface until the view became obscured. The bursts of film at normal speed occur just after the lens had been wiped dry to reveal the trees, marsh grass, and watersedge in clear sharp focus beyond.' — William Raban

Mirror Film
Robert Morris, 1969, USA, 9min, silent
The artist in a snow covered winter landscape holds a mirror to the camera, to nature and to the audience.

Aus Den Algen
Schmelzdahin, 1986,Germany, 9min, sound
In 1985, I tossed an entire reel of film into a little pond in the garden. (I believe that it was Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves.) I salvaged the reel a year later and the experience is recounted in Aus Den Algen. Following a narrative commentary, the spectator witnesses the film being fished out of the pond. From the original, only the base survived. Algae cultures had taken up residence, their abodes now stocking the content of the images. — Jürgen Reble

Pablo Marin, 2005, Argentina, 2min, silent
Made strictly by opposing AMIA's "Disaster Recovery for Films in Flooded Areas" this film was kept under water until its emulsion started to melt, then removed, tightened up and finally dried directly by the sun. The result is what you see, a film trailer, reborn from its very same ashes, in which the few small portions of "images" that remain are overcome by the freed, colorful chemicals. Blocking is, thus, an homage to all the footage lost by the unpredictable dangers of nature and, at the same time, a true song to the beauty in destruction. — Pablo Marin


Decomposing the image in nature
Decomposing the image in nature
Light Reading series 4:Louis Benassi / William Raban
Light Reading series 7:David Gatten

Found footage


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