Negative Light: Recent Experimental Film and Video from the UK

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Microscope is very pleased to welcome London-based artist and curator Simon Payne to the gallery for the first time with a program of moving image works from the United Kingdom by Maria Anastassiou, Nick Collins, Nicky Hamlyn, Neil Henderson, Jamie Jenkinson, Jennifer Nightingale, Simon Payne, Karolina Raczynski, and Guy Sherwin, most of which are screening in New York for the first time.

The program, which consists or both emerging and internationally recognized artists, includes 16mm films, video, live Skype and double projection among its various formats.

“Darkness prevails as much as light, intervals between frames preside over images, and content verges on abstraction. The films and videos here are antithetical to moving image culture at large and in this respect they might be also casting a negative light, but the stance they share is a positive pursuit of poetic and transformative devices. Negation is a point of departure each time and a motivating force.” – Simon Payne

Artist and program curator Simon Payne along with artist Neil Henderson will be in attendance to introduce the screening and are available for the Q&A afterwards.


  • Lightning Strikes (Maria Anastassiou, 16mm film, sound, looped, 2013)
    Restructured footage of a documentary from the American National Weather Centre, Boulder, Colorado. By obliterating and abstracting the information contained in the documentary, the appropriated footage is stripped back to its basic elements of light and sound. The rhythm of the piece is determined by the projector apparatus: the 22 frames that separate the frame gate from the optical sound reader.
  • Rectangle Window Arch Window (Jennifer Nightingale, 16mm film, color, silent, 10 minutes, 2013)
    A 400-foot pinhole film in which the window becomes lens, the room becomes camera, and the artist is the camera mechanism.
  • Dark Garden (Nick Collins, 16mm film, b/w, silent, 9 minutes, 2011)
    The filmmaker’s garden shot at night from a single light source in winter. A lyrical film in which the form of deciduous plants appear out of the darkness of nighttime and film emulsion, or disappear into lit snow and white transparency.
  • Seven Windsor Films (Nicky Hamlyn, 16mm film, color and b/w, silent, 18 minutes, 2012)
    A suite of seven short films made during a residency hosted jointly by the Art Gallery of Windsor and Media City Film Festival in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. The five black and white sections were hand-processed and printed with negative and positive imagery appearing equally. Most of the films involve objects and spaces in the gallery itself, shot in a manner that makes for high-contrast kinetic patterns.
  • Candle (Neil Henderson, 16mm film, b/w, silent, 5 minutes, 2009)
    A film the duration of which documents the development of a polaroid photograph, but in reverse. A subtle flicker is suggested by the film’s grain, and as the image of the candle disappears into whiteness the film illuminates the screen.
  • Signals (Karolina Raczynski, Skype video, projector and handheld mirrors, duration variable, 2013)
    Signals has been arranged and performed in various ways. The central requirements are two audiences, or one audience and the artist, located in separate places – perhaps in adjoining rooms, perhaps in different countries. A Skype connection is set up between them, with the addition of a video projector at each location, which is turned towards the audience/artist, creating a light source that the audiences/artist reflect back, signaling to the other party.
  • NOT AND OR (Simon Payne, single-channel video, b/w and color, silent, 18 minutes. 2014)
    NOT AND OR involves black and white quadrilaterals spinning in virtual space that alternate with the same static shapes re-filmed from a screen in real space. The second half of the piece is the same as the first, but flipped, reversed and re-filmed again, through successive generations – adding while taking away.
  • Apple, Structure, Shutter, Butterfly Garden, Day Room and Blind Bumps (Jamie Jenkinson, single-channel video, color, sound, 5 minutes, 2012-15)
    A selection of short video piece made using an iPhone and idiosyncratic approach to ‘shooting’ which renders concrete objects fluid and disperses the pattern of the raster image in new and unexpected ways.
  • Cycles #3 (Guy Sherwin, two 16mm projectors w/ optical soundtracks, 1972/2003)
    The material used in Cycles (1972/77) is recycled for two screens and two soundtracks, with one tinted screen set inside a second b/w screen. This combination gives rise to a surprising range of induced colours and afterimages, as well as complex cross-rhythms in the soundtrack. The projector performance includes subtle shifts of focus with changes in volume and tone.


Microscope Gallery - New York, United States


Monday, October 26, 2015 - 19:30



Monday, October 26, 2015 - 19:30
  • 525 West 29th
    2nd Floor
    10001   New York, New York
    United States
    Phone: +1 347 925 1433
    40° 45' 7.776" N, 74° 0' 9.648" W