If there’s one central element that would seem to be intrinsic and indispensable to any reasonable definition of the cinema it would be the presence of imagery, whether photographed, animated, or generated through more experimental methods such as hand-painting, scratching, collaging, and so on. Nevertheless, throughout the history of the medium, artists have challenged even this seemingly core tenet of the art form by producing works that subvert or entirely dispense with the image, by expanding the definition of the kinds of experience that can be shared within the space of the cinema, or by provocatively defining as “cinema” performances that might seem a thing apart.
These subversions of the idea of a medium of “moving images” have taken many forms: works that emphasize spoken dialogue or sound collages; films whose visual tracks consist primarily of written text; projector performances that showcase or manipulate light and darkness; flicker films; pure color studies; films that punctuate long stretches of darkness with near-subliminal bursts of imagery; and so on and so forth. The ongoing series, “Imageless Films”, which we’ve been presenting since April, represents an extended, in-depth, and multi-chapter exploration of the various ways that filmmakers and artists have experimented with the possibilities of an “imageless” cinema (or have played with the idea of “emptiness” or visual subtraction in a more general sense).
This screening is part of: IMAGELESS FILMS, PART 5
or, Composition for Projection Booth, Projectors & Projectionists in the Maya Deren Theater (and booth) @ Anthology Film Archives
Bradley Eros, 2016/22, ca. 40 min, projector performance
“A site-specific cinema performance employing the myriad parameters of the technical apparatuses of analog film projection and light, using Anthology’s Maya Deren Theater projection booth & projectors and operated by our skilled projectionists. The work will include all of the variations of lenses, aperture plates, bulbs, lamps, gates, screen masking, shutter speeds, frame rates, change-over, focusing & framing, etc., in a composition for illuminated flicker and filmless geometries of light, for all types of projectors: 8mm, Super-8mm, 16mm, 35mm, and slide, from an instructional score for the performers. It is a work of contracted cinema, or cinéma concret, focused on the cinematographic machine and filmic light: an exercise in analog fetish, pushed towards the revelation of the invisible mechanisms, foregrounding & celebrating that which is usually hidden from sight.” –Bradley Eros
“White light cloaks the hidden spectrum of colours within.” –Goethe, THEORY OF COLOURS
“What the black of the shutter carves into the white of the screen…” –Eros, atomic cinema
COLOUR THEORY (LIGHT ON LIGHT) [AFTER GOETHE]
Bradley Eros, 2008-9/2022, 10 min, for multiple filmless projectors (8mm, 16mm, 35mm, slide), coloured gels, pre-recorded & live sound from machines
COLOUR THEORY uses a multitude of white projector light [all possible variations: 35mm, 16mm, R8 & S8mm, 35mm slide] with a spectrum [RYB/OGV] of hand-manipulated coloured gels, moving apart & over-lapping in layers, to create a blended mixture of myriad shades, performed live from the booth as a sequence of variations from a colour-coded score.