The video installation Scratch-1 is part of the Scratch project that has been developping in different directions since spring 2016. It all started in the wake of the presentation of Rolling over Blinkity Blank in homage to Norman McLaren at Cinémathèque québécoise during the Animation Summits in november 2015. This performance included an element of scratching directly on film, it contrasted with the digital setup that I have been using in my live animation performances since 2001. That evening, the pleasure and the easiness that I experienced while scratching directly on film convinced me to try resume my use of this technique that I almost completely abandonned in 2001 although it had been at the center of my work since 1976.
Another source of this has been the frame by frame study of the film Blinkity Blank on a 35mm print that the NFB gave me access to. This study revealed to me a system of flickering that was much more complex and mobile that what I had expected. It was a genuine revelation that inspired me in undertaking a new line of experimentation from this idea that I quickly designated a «polyphony of flickers». I began with a first phase in May and June 2016 by creating a series of thirty short loops that I readily posted as gif’s on my Facebook account. Then came the signal film for the 2016 Summits of animation and a first film Scratch – triptych 3, made from the gif’s with a music by Malcolm Goldstein. I used those gif’s again to create a video installation for a group exhibition at Clark Center, Hors pages curated by the HB magazine devoted to drawing.
This is a three flat screens video installation, placed horizontallay side by side. Three loops of different lengths are rolling independenty on the three screens creating ever new combinations of the three images, the total length for a return at the initial state being 408 days. It is the third time that I use such a set up. For Berlin, the passage of time, a four screens video installation, the complete length was 1200 years, for Cycling Utrecht, a two screens installation, it was seven days and a half. From a formal point of view, it is simply a combinatory process that is bound to repeat itself after a certain time. But if we consider this at the level of the experience of a given spectator, it creates an image of infinity. Even with the shortest of those instalaltion (Cycling Utrecht, seven days), it involves too long a period making it impossible to be totally experienced by any viewer. The contact with the installation takes the form of an experience without a beginning and without and end and a resulting characteristic is that two different viewers will necessary see something different, a distinct portion of the complete piece. The fact of the eventual repetition of the overall cycle remains a totally conceptual concern beyond perception.
This installation is without sound.
First presentation from January 12 to February 18, at Clark Center (5455 de Gaspé, Montréal, local 114) in the group exhibition Hors Pages curated by the HB magazine, devoted to drawing.
20 minutes simulation of the video installation