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week 3 – matthew hulse

Hamlet and the Ghost
– time in context –

Although I wasn’t able to join the session this week I gave a look at the presentation that was shown. I had a few standouts:

Outer Space by Peter Tscherkassky is a discordant found-footage film. I did not manage to watch it in its entirety, but from watching the trailer I could tell that it is a very conceptual film. The description states, “A woman, terrorised by an invisible force, enters a house at night. The rasping of crickets and a distorted music give way to explosions, screams and garbled voices. In an eruption of panicked subjectivity, her face multiplies across the screen while flashes of solarised imagery invade the frame…” This is clear in the trailer, and I felt a sense of heaviness from the distortion of the film. It almost seems as if we are experiencing the film from the perspective of the seemingly malevolent force; one that I assume to be Time.

Outer Space is a short experimental film created by Austrian filmmaker Peter Tscherkassky in 1999. The film is a tribute to the silent film era and is based on found footage from a 1982 horror movie called The Entity.

Tscherkassky’s film is a surreal and unsettling exploration of the horror genre, using techniques such as hand-processing and optical printing to distort and manipulate the original footage. The resulting images are often blurry and abstract, with characters and objects dissolving and reappearing in unexpected ways.

The film’s title, Outer Space, refers to the sense of disorientation and alienation that Tscherkassky creates through his use of visual effects. The film’s abstract imagery and disorienting editing create a sense of unease and anxiety in the viewer, as if they are experiencing a journey through a distorted and nightmarish version of reality.

Outer Space has been acclaimed for its innovative use of found footage and its surreal and disturbing imagery. It has been shown at film festivals and galleries around the world and is considered a landmark of avant-garde cinema.

This is a very appealing film to me. The cinematography is so eerie and I would be interested in having a go at creating something similar for my project.

Janet Cardiff’s Her Long Black Hair – Central Park is another piece that stood out to me. I had previously done research on her in my first year during the ‘walking and drawing’ module, and I found myself thoroughly enjoying her audiowalks and being able to make one.

Janet Cardiff is a Canadian artist known for her immersive, site-specific sound installations and audio walks. She was born on March 15, 1957, in Brussels, Ontario, Canada.

She began working with sound in the late 1980s, and her first solo exhibition, Whispering Room, was held in 1990. One of Cardiff’s most famous works is The Forty Part Motet (2001), a sound installation featuring a 40-voice choir performing a choral work by Thomas Tallis. The voices are played back through 40 individual speakers arranged in a circle, creating a spatial and immersive experience for the viewer.

Cardiff has also created several audio walks, which guide participants through urban environments while playing a pre-recorded soundtrack that is synchronised with the participant’s movements. These walks include Her Long Black Hair (2004), The Missing Voice (Case Study B) (1999), and The Walk Book (1991).

Cardiff has exhibited her work internationally, including at the Venice Biennale, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the National Gallery of Canada. She has won numerous awards, including the 2001 Venice Biennale Award and the 2014 Audain Prize for Visual Art.

In this audiowalk she takes the listener on a journey through New York. It felt so sinister and out-of-place; the following lines stuck with me as it was very thought provoking: “Walking is very calming. One step after another. One foot moving into the future and one in the past. Do you ever think about that? It’s like our bodies are caught in the middle. The hard part is in the present.”

– a haunting time –

When thinking about time, I have been reflecting about its fleeting nature and subsequently how to capture those moments. Death is a promise that is made to us at from the moment we are conceived. We never get to see the contract or when it is due to expire, but it is certain that everyone’s contracts are due to be terminated at some point. What happens when those contracts impede on our mortal business though? In my mind— ghosts.

I have been in a spooky mood recently. I’ve been feeling a little more in-touch with my spiritual health. I don’t necessarily believe in chakras, or reiki, or any of that really, but I just find myself really in touch with my spirit. I’ve been more physically active recently and I feel more awake, both physically and spiritually. There’s always something sort of extra-corporal sensation that I feel at some points during my waking moments. Sometimes I feel it in my dreams, at least those I can remember. A third-person perspective onto whatever my subconscious conjures is such a bizarre thing. I have always been paranoid by my active imagination. I often find myself scaring myself simply by allowing my mind to make shadows move, imagine eyes peeking through a slit in the closet I forgot to close before getting into bed, hearing sounds that may or may not be real, and manifesting presences that can or cannot harm me… (obviously a duvet protects you from all evil spirits, this is scared kid 101)

In order to lean into this ghoulish thematic I did some experimental photography.

I used an iPhone 12 Pro with the Live Photos feature on, through which I can create a long exposure picture which composites all the images from the Live photo to create a sort of pseudo-spirit photography moment.

After some more experimentation I found out that ghosts really don’t like sunlight; except maybe if they stand really still… You could be walking past a mob of ghouls and you would never even know…

Perhaps they can even show themselves two-dimensionally. Why shouldn’t they be allowed to show their shadow? It is their darkest component.

(I’m really proud of this one!!!!)

People devote a lot of time to faith. Perhaps that devotional energy resonates within the pews, the pillars, the tiling…

Or maybe they’re just having a dance party in a kitchen that has had countless visitors…

What is certain however is that I really enjoyed going out and taking these pictures. I guess just doing things really pays off. (Thank you Miranda!)

If I had to select a few images to display at the TAKEOVER right now, I would probably choose the following ones:

I’m looking forward to taking more of these pictures around town. I have reached out on social media to try and get more people involved in the pictures. I want to see if I can create a ghost army of sorts! Hopefully on a day like in the pictures below!!

Before I end this post, take a walk with me through the foggy seafront… what ghastly apparitions will step forward…?

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