The Last Scream 3:30 minutes super 8 2013
A phantasmagoria of light, stretched across a pair of nights and days. The emphasis here is on performance, and the accumulation of seeing, the visible palimpsest of memory that arrives in bursts of overexposure or else staggered views of the same scene. What other medium can bring together the gifts of prophecy and nostalgia? A deftly lensed stage show gives way to a staging of childhood, and then a woman who is also a child emerges from the scrum, reminding us, like Freud, that our deepest pleasures are infantile. The sensation of colour. Those shapes.
UNcirCling 3:45 minutes 2015
With high-toned microsounds skittering between the speakers courtesy of Ted Phillips, the abstract picture offers a deep red ground with yellow, orange and green shapes appearing “in front” of it. They appear like lens flares, except for their colour, lights in the distance. It turns out that the picture is live, though the filmers have blown up moments of the digiscape to unveil a light rapture that replaces a nighttime factoryscape.
In their description of the movie the artists note “UNcirCling is a visual music miniature composed of a bokeh of lights and digital chirping.” Bokeh is a Japanese-derived word that the Oxford English Dictionary defines as “The visual quality of the out-of-focus areas of a photographic image, especially as rendered by a particular lens.” As the focus slowly shifts, a nighttime scene is revealed, the industrial lights turn out to be spotlights and water reflections, while the factory bodies remain dark and distant. This focus pull pushes the lens and its digital capture to its limit, producing a shuddering and pulsating celebration, the secret life of light.
Lunaire 7:15 digital video 2015
Lori Freedman is a relentless jazz spirit forever performing at the brink. She appears here in a brief solo turn, singing then howling into her clarinet, offering tender respites between riffs of rage and reconciliation. The artists add a softly pulsing backdrop overlay, and a second mirrored slightly wider image of the musician that echoes the first, as if all that energy couldn’t be contained within a single body. Adam and John have attended countless new music performances, and have documented too many to mention. Here they glean from their own well-lit documentation archives, and turn this fragment into a form of visual music. The movie opens and closes with shots of the moon (hence the movie’s title), suggesting the music’s two sides, light and dark, what can be heard, and what might only live in the imagination.
A Burning Thing 3:30 minutes super 8 2016
A gaggle of nighttime fire performers are glimpsed with musical precision. Their bodies multiply in superimposition, then dissolve back into the illusion of a single identity, before shattering again into light odes. The whole thing was shot on a single bravura roll of super 8 film, no editing required for these perfectly made pictures. The coda returns us to the city, where a demented traffic crawls across a city newly remade.
Flash Mob 6:30 minutes digital video 2016
Described by its makers as an “experimental cinema verite horror film,” this nighttime beach vigil begins with a softly focussed seascape, shimmering orange lights shimmering resolve into a group of young revellers catching the incoming waves. Lightning bursts bring the horizon into dramatic relief (distant hills beneath a sky that goes on forever), offering momentary glimpses of the rest of the world, as if we were all so caught up in the dream of a self that we were too busy to notice. Camera flashes mimic the divine. A beautiful stereo recording of beach delights morphs into a muffled roar of protest before the voices return, laid beneath the water that falls over everything, connecting fluid, amniotic invitation. A curious illustration of Plato’s cave analogy, the humans are busy chasing shadows they take for reality, while golden immensities beckon all around them.