Friday, October 28, 2011

Film: Tacita Dean at the Tate Modern

One of the joys of London is being able to pop into the Tate Modern's cavernous Turbine Hall to discover the latest installation. And that's exactly what I did last weekend.

What I found was Tacita Dean's tribute to 35mm film called, er, FILM. Unlike in the cinema where the screen is much wider than it is tall here it is on end, reaching almost to the hall's roof.

In the 11 minute loop she demonstrates the range of techniques and textures than can be created by old fashioned analogue methods, using filters and cut-outs. And the loop itself is physical - a single loop of celluloid.

One of the main images is of the far end to the Turbine Hall itself, while others include fountains, streams, waves approaching a beach and mushrooms. Children love it, rushing up to the screen, trying to catch falling images, like the bubble above.

I enjoyed it, though I wouldn't rave as some reviewers have. I'm rather prosaically in favour of new tech, despite the odd hiccup.

Its really nice, lying there on that endless expense of poured concrete, watching silhouetted children and waiting for those mushrooms to come round yet again. I can totally recommend you go and see it.

However I couldn't help but think, again and again, why make life so difficult? It must have taken ages to do all of that the old fashioned way, cutting ribbons of film and gluing frames together again.

Just, like, load it up to MovieMaker dude. (or Final Cut Pro if you've got a Mac).

Maybe that work is the point. It was a bit like those Sunflowers Seeds of Ai Weiwei, in which each of the uncountable millions was created by hand (though it was a shame you couldn't walk on them as was intended).

But at the end of the day 35mm film is - or rather was - for me a tool that could be used to tell a story, and its that mix of character and plot that interests me.

Something, indeed, like Casablanca.

Play it, Sam, play "As time goes by"

Sigh. Now that was true magic.


Major Strasser said...

Oh JP, you are getting sneaky.

Cognoscenti know that that "Play it again, Sam" is actually a misquote from Casablanca. And I am sure you, of all people, knew that.

So you go and tease us with another misquote when I am sure you really know that what Ingrid Bergman actually said was "Play it once, Sam, for old times' sake, play 'As Time Goes By'."

Captain Renault said...

You are wrong Major Strasser. JP is right. She did say it.

JP said...

A sigh is just a sigh

Sigh.... classic stuff. Thanks for the link, Captain Renault.

I think Major Strasser has been watching too much Woody Allen.

Signor Ferarri said...

I have no idea what you are talking about.

O Docker said...

Of all the comments pages, in all the blogs, in all the world, I walk into this one.

Tillerman said...

Captain JP has been spammed. Round up the usual suspects.

JP said...

It doesn't take much to see that the problems of blogging don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world