MUBI is partnering with the New York Film Festival to present highlights from Projections, a festival program of film and video work that expands upon our notions of what the moving image can do and be. Karissa Hahn's Regal (2015) showing on MUBI in many countries around the world from October 14 - November 12, 2016.
From: film (theater) to > Youtube (home) > to film (theater) > to MUBI (you)
Torrented/pirated (digital) images as found footage, printed from a household printer onto 16mm clear film. A frame by frame re-animation resurrection of the Cinema Showcase Policy Trailer.
Such as the loading dial, Regal aims to circulate and find its way back to the screen.
Take this proxy and see that the ghost has become tangible.
Take this digital version and see that the resurrection has become compressed once again, circulated for free, homogenized as Hollywood [the suspension of cell constituents, this grain & digital dirt fusion] floating in the ubiquitous realm of our data pool, our meta-data, temporarily freed….living somewhere behind the loading dial.
I became curious about the presence of digital imagery in 16mm film and eventually was eager to find some semiotic gap and then mesh between this ‘object’ of digital and its current representation in celluloid form. I wanted these images or frames to shoot directly out of my computer in order to touch the now tangible figures (knowing that this in reality, is impossible).
I was engaged with Hito Steyerl’s essay In Defense of the Poor Image at the time, which brought up key points:
...Twenty or even thirty years ago, the neoliberal restructuring of media production began slowly obscuring non-commercial imagery, to the point where experimental and essayistic cinema became almost invisible. As it became prohibitively expensive to keep these works circulating in cinemas, so were they also deemed too marginal to be broadcast on television. Thus they slowly disappeared not just from cinemas, but from the public sphere as well. Video essays and experimental films remained for the most part unseen save for some rare screenings in metropolitan film museums or film clubs, projected in their original resolution before disappearing again into the darkness of the archive. This development was of course connected to the neoliberal radicalization of the concept of culture as commodity, to the commercialization of cinema, its dispersion into multiplexes, and the marginalization of independent filmmaking. It was also connected to the restructuring of global media industries and the establishment of monopolies over the audiovisual in certain countries or territories. In this way, resistant or non-conformist visual matter disappeared from the surface into an underground of alternative archives and collections, kept alive only by a network of committed organizations and individuals, who would circulate bootlegged VHS copies amongst themselves. Sources for these were extremely rare—tapes moved from hand to hand, depending on word of mouth, within circles of friends and colleagues. With the possibility to stream video online, this condition started to dramatically change. An increasing number of rare materials reappeared on publicly accessible platforms, some of them carefully curated (Ubuweb) and some just a pile of stuff (YouTube).
Now, the ‘National Cinema Policy Showtime Trailers’ are directly tied to this commercialization of cinema as they were created to be played in the multiplexes mentioned. I spent some time struggling with the thought of these trailers being a ‘poor image,’ as I felt it more the villain—until I came across the resurrection of such images on YouTube. Users on YouTube were experiencing nostalgia for this clip which is now quite rare to see projected in a theatrical setting.
I desired to see it further degraded and returned to its former home: the theater. I downloaded a file directly from Youtube and copied each frame into a template in photoshop, I printed it out of the computer onto clear 16mm celluloid and delighted over the messy quality and melting inky frames. The fact that you can smear a loading dial with a thumb...
I was working in a building without wifi at the time and stealing from neighbors, so naturally the loading dial made itself present when doing research for the right trailer on YouTube. I began to think of this loading symbol often referred to as the “circle dial of doom” and incorporated it into the piece since I was going to upload the telecined file to YouTube once again for public streaming.
The dial static:
The ‘loading circle’ represents data compensating between the rate it is processed and received. There is an algorithm occurring during video streaming, one that 16mm doesn’t have. So in a sense, the projection is a representation without the actualities of this process. It is a signifier of waiting and somehow gets away with being a part of many pieces. Though, there is an understanding when seeing this symbol that it is separate from the actual video. Both of these symbols are recognizable to today's internet-using world. I imply to bring images born in the digital world onto celluloid. This creates something that could possibly create a discourse on the illusion of the digital rhetoric—which disassembles when gone analog.
I recently attended a lecture by Ellie Abrons at an architectural institution. She was talking about her sculptures which use the process of photogrammetry. Photogrammetry is essentially a series of photographs which construct a digital model. All matter becomes equivalent data once the object is reconstructed in a computer. Images as whole appear in a digital polygon mesh, texture mapped to create an architectural model. She spoke of the mass and volume of her objects, how they become misaligned in materiality. "To severe form from materiality, isolate the image and develop a new image from fragments….you re-assemble a similar artifact with a new composition. The plastic form on digital composite posed against the production weight.” Abrons referred to her process as being a faithful rendition of materiality. She said, “it is not an attempt to be authentic, but rather, an attempt to be earnest.” These postulated avatars that currently dominate our current cultural climate are what fueled this piece. An orphan in the platonic form made digital, projected laterally with each frame holding its own individuality and weight, reconstituted despite the travel that it has endured.