BEAR, LAMB, BEAVER
I have a fascination with what I call the twin eye, a collaborative eye, I think about LAMB and BEAR, by Nashashibi/Skaer or João Maria Gusmão & Pedro Paiva’s Wheels, Cleaning Marty’s family graveyard and Benguelino putting a spell on the camera.
A Bag of Air by Tacita Dean is bound by a thought of capturing an elixir to cure all ailments. Nashashibi’s Vivian’s Garden, of inheritance, wildness and mothers and daughters, a film’s edges, snakes, hidden women, violent margins.
George and I are chasing images in clear January light from 8am to 3pm, in the air of this pandemic, between sky and ground; a tree like spiders on the ground (out-take) is Louise Bourgeois, the bat sanctuary sentinels (out-take) belongs to the science-fiction of Ray Bradbury (The Illustrated Man, especially the sequence The Long Rain) or Werner Herzog, the water describes all water, tears like I am too Sad to Tell You, tripping, high lipsticked and camouflaged Lance kissing the submerging Chief in Apocalypse Now, Jordan Baseman’s Black Sea, a thought on what it means to be half-blind, an eye patch, flattening dimension, the water here is mirrors – so re-wilding invites chaos, succumbing and shedding an unproductive skin.
A film set on unsettled ground should be unsteady, pinned to the eye of the nocturnal or insomniac’s habits (wet, crisp, dry, muddy cells, steam, hairy, hot, hungry, bubbles, fed, nearly asleep) and filming at its eye level; scientific experiments with mystical intent (how much is so still here, so movement alerts tension); observing this territory with an alien camera which thinks this is alien space, nevertheless the wet wood should never be captured digitally, it is for those where that raw matter is all there is. I thought about bodies in capturing these images, being a film technician, succumbing to the environment and George’s eye, a queer perspective too; and like the Blair Witch Project, The Birds or the Evil Dead, a potential for horror here, its unknown behaviors might consume us.
Castorocene is contaminated in collaboration by its scenography, its negative film emulsion should fertilize, should animate mushrooms, a spore gas to invite hallucinations. There is addiction here to making 16mm images, seduced by an artist’s commitment to a material.
Not to be read:
Writer Melissa Gronlund quoted in Postface by Anthony Spira for Daria Martin’s 16mm film Sensorium Tests (2012) p.144 MK Gallery 2012: “the question of whether a film can literally touch someone – whether a spectator can feel a bodily reaction to a film – has since the 1990s become a key question of film scholarship.”
Speak, Memory, Vladimir Nabokov, An autobiography revisited, 1951
“As far back as I remember myself (with interest, with amusement, seldom with admiration or disgust) I have been subject to mild hallucinations…” Ibid. p. 132
Thank you so much for sharing these films. I love Rosalind & Lucy’s films, I feel very connected to the way they capture images, raw and honest, willing to stay with and reveal the action, respectfully, and about empathy and wonder, while I am fascinated by the collaborative lens they produce work through, the twin eye, like Gusmao and Paiva’s cinema. LAMB and BEAR are really deeply moving cinematic works, BEAR is particularly strong and elevated and changed by the sound and vocal work with the Cantonese Opera singer. I was thinking about this idea about abrasiveness with CAConrad when we talked about their writing for George’s film for LUX Scotland, about writing and drawing and mark-making punctuating the scene, about illusions that 16mm film frame-by-frame itself generates (only a real understanding of film could make these images happen, and these scenes could never be filmed on anything else but film and what a thing to give over to the camera), and these different actions working at the same time, like the way the animation works, especially when it becomes more natural and less ambiguous, it’s so tender to understanding the screen and its images of care like this, isn’t it? To be willing to be so intimate, which is also a willingness to look at fear and violence. I love the way the voice works — it is instinct, conflict, poetry and release, I think about giving these nurturing/nurtured/farmed animals a voice too, and bringing together these different cultural and artistic histories, a raw leveling between, and the hybrids and phantoms the screen conjures by bringing both together. Like your curatorial practice, I think Rosalind and Lucy don’t take viewership for granted.
Have a read at this, if you don’t know it: http://www.fredkelemen.com/pdf/SusanSontag_engl.pdf (Sontag’s The Decay of Cinema)
I am doing okay, I am working on Catherine’s voice over at the end of the month with Mark Vernon and more material is coming back from the lab, forming a kind of depository, loosely fitting parts that hopefully assemble as an ambiguous description of Tiresias, like the raw rushes themselves become the work, making debris, trying to mask and reveal at the same time, something like that. You can see how this is coming together here…