Close Up

6 - 13 December 2011: Air Cries "Empty Water" + Decasia


We present three films which use decaying and intensively altered footage to haunting effect. Using archival, found and original footage, each film produces an uncanny feeling that echoes dreamlike moods and textures, not only through the images depicted but also by the transformation of their vehicle: the surface of the film itself.

Misery Loves Company

Carl E. Brown
1993 | 60 min | Colour | 16mm

"I have been working in film and photography for over twenty-five years. In that time I have tried through my journey to perfect my alchemy / my art / my life. It is in the spirit of an experience and not of experiment that my work has been viewed these past 25 years, seized in moments of visual detachment during periods of emotional contact. These images are oxidized residues, fixed by light and chemical elements, of living organisms. No plastic expression can ever be more than a residue of the experience. Yet, that residue is recognition of an image that has somehow survived the experience, recalling the event, like the undisturbed ashes of an object consumed by flames." – Carl E. Brown

The Red Thread
Carl E. Brown
1993 | 60 min | Colour | 16mm

"When I began working with film and photography in a materially oriented way, I thought that by working with the surface – altering and affecting it – I could leave my identity, my personality. My vision was meshed with the film's physical makeup creating an organic surface. Also I felt it was a way to create an entirely new visual language, to be able to convey my innermost feelings and emotions in a very personal way." – Carl E. Brown

Decasia: The State of Decay
Bill Morrison
2002 | 66 min | B/W | Digital

is composed entirely of decaying, nitrate-based archival footage. But Decasia does more than merely celebrate the psychedelic beauty of decay, as Morrison has deliberately chosen images which seem to push back against their own physical disintegration. This inspiring, haunting tapestry of long lost, partially erased images – nuns leading a slow-moving cortege of schoolchildren, the rescue of a man from drowning, a boxer relentlessly targeting his mysteriously obliterated opponent – testifies not only to the fragile nature of film but to the transience of all human endeavour. Set to an eerie symphonic score by Michael Gordon, Decasia reminds us, as Morrison himself puts it, of the many dreams we forget upon waking.