Alexander Hetherington

Hybrids, 2023-2024, 16mm & 35mm film

Human/Non-Human/Indiscernible Time. (Automatic Writing/Involuntary speech)


Bodies made of glass. King Charles VI of France was famously afflicted by ‘glass delusion’. He thought he was made of glass. Meanwhile Princess Alexandra Amelie believed she had swallowed a grand piano made of glass when she was a child and that any loud sound or sudden motion would cause her to shatter. Meanwhile a patient in the 1900s was convinced that the healing phase curing the maladies of a serious disease would cause him to become transparent. There is some evidence to suggest that Tchaikovsky thought his head was made of glass. 


‘Hybrids, a film for television’ is a queer film essay featuring images shot in non-human or indiscernible time, across 16mm, 35mm, high-speed cameras and from cameraless/found footage. It is accompanied by new experimental writing navigating identities through a series of historical queer texts and film references to observe on current bodily and speculative personal experiences of living with HIV. These include the hypnotism on live television scene from Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Mirror (1974), in which a young man is cured of his stutter, extracts from Ko-hua Chen’s poetry from his queer Decapitated Poetry anthology (1995) melding the quotidian, sci-fi imagery and transcorporeal meditations on forbidden queer love in Taiwan and My Skin Sits On Me Like The Shirt Of Nessus passage from Derek Jarman’s Blue (1993), on childhood dreams, memories through insomnia, fatigue and broken, failing sight. Thematically related but working in visual opposition the work is completed by a yet-to-be-filmed sequence on 35mm of ink-dyed hands and feet which makes use of passages from Gilbert Austin book on Chironomia, the Art of Manual Rhetoric (1806), using ‘gesticulations or hand gestures to good effect’, John Bulwer’s Chirologia, Or the Natural Language of the Hand (1644) and Norbert Elias’ The Civilizing Process (1939), on individual psychic structures defined by social attitudes (church, state, fiscal, law) and histories of etiquette, on shame, repugnance, sexual behavior and self-restraint and the emergence of embarrassment and prudishness.

Raw rushes, surveillance film, b&w, 16mm, 2023








Film and lens test using a new lens, thinking of the cinematography on Picnic at Hanging Rock (Weir) and Badlands (Malick), 64fps and single frame shooting.


Broken film.





Made possible with the financial assistance of Visual Artists and Craft Maker Awards: Forth Valley 2023, and grants from The Richard and Siobhan Coward Foundation and The Elephant Trust. Thank you to James Holcombe for telecine of the camera less roll and expired surveillance films.  Thank you to Digital Orchard for the 4K scans of the 35mm camera less film (100ft, 1 min 08 secs, 2023) and (25ft, 35 seconds, 2023) and DJCAD for 35mm found footage scans.

Alexander Hetherington