Architecture on Film: Translating the Archive

Architecture on Film: Translating the Archive
Gilly Booth

You can find a link to the film here.

Setting, place or a particular building is often a beginning as a site for inquiry. Past films have invested in a political language of architecture, especially in relation to 1960s French and Italian film. I use voice over, text/graphics, archive, interview footage and location to create a filmic investigation that destabilizes reality and fiction. The subject is translation, whether immediate or through memory, in order to re-visit lost places, images, a particular film history or an archive, which are then re-mediated for the viewer within a cinematic or installation context.

Gilly Booth, stills from 16mm film footage recorded in EUR in 1999 for the Driving Antonioni project.

Gilly Booth, stills from 16mm film footage recorded in EUR in 1999 for the Driving Antonioni project. Courtesy: Gilly Booth

For this film I started with the circle – a motif that occurs throughout Carlo Caldini’s visual archive and in Ben Kelly Design’s structure.  Graphic designer Paul Plowman created a series of motion masks, which focus on detail as if performing a visual scan and simulating a haptic engagement. The film shows glimpses of the archive from the late 1960’s to today.   Doubled inside the installation, each film is slightly different, adding an element of disruption.  The sound track, composed specifically by the artist and DJ Mike Silver, also refers to the digital scanning of an archive: a scanning of audio grains in the way a laser passes over an image. The sound track draws on the club history from prog rock to Euro disco in order to create a new sound in its own right.

Still from the film created for Space Electronic: Then and Now, dir. Gilly Booth, 2014.

Still from the film created for Space Electronic: Then and Now, dir. Gilly Booth, 2014.

The sound, image and different technologies (print, digital media and film) collide in a discordant synchronicity; ‘a contamination of one media by another’ (Kitnick, ‘This is Marshall Mcluhan’, 2011). It recalls the kaleidoscopic visuals that 9999 projected onto the club’s walls in the 1970s to make a Mcluhan-esque ‘cool’, participatory environment.

Still from the Space Electronic: Then and Now film, showing the S-Space school, c. 1971.

Still from the Space Electronic: Then and Now film, showing the S-Space school, c. 1971.

Footage of Space Electronic today also becomes part of the archive. Karaoke and selfies replace the texts of protest and environmental experimentation.  New footage records Space Electronic as a contemporary club but also as a light well unpopulated by people – leaving the space to the dancing technology of ‘gobo’ lights.   Early on in a conversation with Cat Rossi we decided on the idea of a ‘pop video time capsule’ existing within the space and outside of it: Mcluhan’s ‘allatonceness . . . a simultaneous happening’that captures a moment then and now (Mcluhan, The Medium is the Massage, 1967 ).

Gilly Booth is a London-based artist working in film and video and the director of the Space Electronic: Then and Now film.  You can find a link to the film itself here.

References

Kitnick, Alex, ‘This is Marshall Mcluhan’, Rhizome, 04 October 2011 http://rhizome.org/editorial/2011/oct/4/marshall-mcluhan/ [last accessed 02 June 2014]

Mcluhan, Marshall. The Medium is the Massage (Harmondsworth : Penguin, 1967)

 

 

 

 

 

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