THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE
Desiring a blurring between my body, the material of analogue 16mm film and the presence of fire, I made a cameraless 16mm from these active elements.
I began by reframing darkness as a place of incubation and birth akin to a cave or womb: the darkness of the darkroom I was working in; darkness as in the not-knowing of the interior of my body; my own unconscious mind hidden from me; the material darkness within the interior of the 16mm film.
Wrapping the unexposed, raw film around my limbs, head, into my mouth, into my hair, and all in the dark, I noticed how this felt and tasted. Entangled and restricted, I lit matches for the films exposure, holding the flame close then distant, using the match’s burning length to determine the exposure time. Hand-developing the spool in trays of photographic chemistry felt evocative of the internal fluid systems of the body. Development revealed previews of the miniature images minutes after I had made them, collapsing the distance between experiencing and seeing.
In the making process, the length and feel of the film against my skin made me aware of where the edges of my body were, and where I couldn’t overcome the distance between the material of film and my human body; where we both remained separate and intact. The materials light-sensitivity however, felt like a bridge and a potential stand-in for somatic reactivity and aliveness. After drying the film I noticed traces of my hair and skin integrated into the film surface and emulsion, and my fantasy of apparent merging and dialogue continued.
13 x Photographic stills from film, Digital C-type prints, 20 x 40 cm.
1 x 16mm cameraless black and white film, 3 minutes, made with body, match exposure, hand developed. Unique.