Friday, April 19, 2013

Movement in Light: Pure Figures in Motion

The third in the series (I missed the second, owing to Fringe!) exploring the work of Man Ray and his followers, this programme of shorts at the NPG went in surprising directions, as it took in the many possibilities of cameraless cinema.

Or should that be para-cinema? The first work was Light Time, a performance by Amy Dickson of candles being lit behind a screen, the black covering burning off as the flame generated heat. So, this was all about the light and its movement.

Other works actually involved film, such as Joanna Byrne's Manifestoh!, a clever work juxtaposing increasingly panicked news reports of the 2008 (and beyond) financial meltdown with text from the Communist Party Manifesto. It might have been even more clever, had we been able to read the words, which scrolled across the screen as mere abstract graphics.

Luke Aspell's Luminance Gradients was a feat of endurance, which really should have had an epilepsy warning, as the flashes of white light were accompanied by a soundtrack of tape hiss. I shut my eyes for this one.

Half of the films were silent, and the audience was polite enough to remain silent, except for the event photographer, who did not make use of the camera's quiet option, the shutter noise punctuating the atmosphere with a "ba-jee-ka" every 10 seconds or so. Most irritating.

The closer was another live performance, The Glass by Jamie Jenkinson, a series of glass sculptures forming patterns on the walls, as they rotated around what looked like a turntable (old skool!), with varying effects.

Quite enduring, this play of light in a darkened room. It could have legs yet.

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