This may be my last ever blog – or not?
Today has been challenging. The Loop Box we made is not deep enough for the length of film I have and when I was playing my film it got jammed and burned a hole in the film in two places.
Several splices later and it seems ok again but I am really worried its going to do that on assessment day!
You can see a bit of the Loop Box in action by going to https://vimeo.com/218920819
I have decided to definitely do a performance and have spent the day planning it out. It feels like the only way to make my work feel real so I am going along with it.
I feel disappointed that I am probably not going to be able to use the Loop Box but on the positive side if I ever need to make another one, I will know exactly how to do it and to make it a lot deeper!
Trying to put my degree show together has been extremely stressful because of not knowing really what my work was going to be about but this seems to be part of how I work. It was only really today that I was able to verbalise my thoughts on what I was trying to do and where I was going with this piece of work.
I wanted the environment to be clinical (not nurturing) and the viewer to be able to access the space only when the process is complete. The physicality of the Super 8mm process, the gathering, editing and matching of information is a representation of the way memory is laid down. The performance is a one off event, the recording an echo of that event.
The performance element is still unknown but this is part of the excitement and the stress! Let’s hope I make it to the other side in one piece!
How come we remember some things so clearly and not others?
I recently recalled a memory I had of attending my Uncle’s funeral when I was younger. I remembered how the Church looked and where the grave was in relation to the Church but nothing else. My mum told me where she thought he was buried so I drove there and found his grave in the exact place that I remembered it. I was surprised that I could recall this so accurately.
I filmed the church and the grave stone with my Chinon 722 cine camera in black and white but had no idea if the cine camera was actually working!
However, if it did come out, I knew I wanted to show it as part of my degree show project.
I wanted to loop the projector film but because the old projectors are not designed to play a looped film, there is always a risk that it could damage either the motor of the projector or the claw that pulls the film through.
Research on the internet brought up an article on the Loop Box where the film is looped and as it goes round it drops down into an 8mm wide slot, folds in on itself and then comes back up the other end.
I consulted with a fellow student Jamie on how it might be possible to make one and we decided on a putting a dividing piece of wood in a plinth and then cutting an 8mm wide slot in the top for the film to drop into. We cut holes into the plinth on two sides so that the viewer could follow where the film went after it left the projector and entered the Loop Box. This meant that I had to also paint the inside of the box.
Originally I thought it might be possible to put reels underneath that the film could go through as it dropped down into the loop box but when I tried this, the reels did not flow freely enough causing too much drag so I decided against this as it would have put too much strain on the projector motor and claw meaning a high risk of breakages and burnout.
The film can be seen as it folds its way into the loop box through a hole in the plinth and through the Perspex side. I was fascinated by the different shapes the film makes as it folds in on itself and then unfolds to return to the projector.
The curtains are now up in my space. We used wooden batons to support the rail but had to manually drill a hole in the batons at an angle so that the rails would go through and remain the right height for the curtains.
I now have real problems with editing my footage. I had been trying to use cement but that didn’t work so someone said superglue works. It seemed to work initially but then the loops started breaking, the glue was jamming up the splicers and the film itself was breaking. I was on the verge of giving up the whole idea of Super 8mm film.
I emailed Rik from The Old Film Company where I had had my films developed and asked for his advice. He said never to use superglue as it damages any machinery you try to run the film through. He said that older films tend to be acetate so the cement splicing works with them whereas the more recent films, like the Super 8 are usually polyester so cement will not work and he recommended using tape as this would not damage my projector.
Rik sent me an email with the machine and tape he recommended but I had no way of guaranteeing that it would get to me in the post in time before the deadline Thursday but luckily Rik said he could process my order this evening and I could collect it from him at home in Bury St Edmunds the next morning.
I wanted to look at how different sounds can fill the space I have for the degree show. I was surprised at the strength of the gramophone sound considering there are no speakers or digitally enhanced sound. The records are actual recordings of singers and bands performing their songs live instead of being recorded in a music studio. This gives the music a different sound entirely.
The reel to reel cassette is a very different sound to digital sound and I was interested in the noise of just the mechanism on its own without any sound playing. The sounds between the sounds, the spaces between and what they say about the space.