Monday, May 4, 2015

From the Vault screening

Lovely screening of 16mm films from the Filmpool vault, curated by Mike Rollo at the RPL. I've seen each of these films multiple times but it's been a few years for most of them. My 1991 film "GerFilm II" was included, about which a few people commented that my voice has noticeably changed. One amusing moment was at the end of "Agoraphobia" when my name was in the credits, William pointed it out to me in surprise, having not recognized that it was me acting in the whole film (for those haven't seen it, it is a 30 year old film in which I am the only person appearing).
There was a lot of discussion at  the end about Richard Kerr's "Machine in the Garden" which contained a lot of rapid and flickering images. I've only seen it three times but I think I've like it more each time. The flickering film creates a very physical reaction with the viewers. For me, it is almost like the feeling of being sick without being sick, (much like the feeling of fear without the fear that eating hot spices evokes). It affects the body even more than the mind, making your heart beat faster and your lungs strain a bit to maintain their rhythm. I find that I begin to imagine things, perhaps even hallucinate, with the effect lasting only as long as I keep my attention on the screen. Three people in the audience talked about feeling physical distress, almost sick, as a result of the film. Anne said she would have left but was too distraught to get out of her seat. Chrystene had similar issues. We talked about how overcome I felt trying to spin in circles for three minutes for a super-8 film a few years ago, trying to replicate some work of John Porter. When I asked John how he managed it, he told me that he can spin for a half hour without a problem. It makes me think that some people are predisposed to having this type of reaction and that it might be connected to other forms of adverse physical responses or conditions. I wonder if there is a way of measuring how people react to assaulting stimuli such as spinning and flicker and I warrant that those us us who experience migraines may move higher up the scale. I wonder if some people feel no visceral effect of flicker films?

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