Projection 31

Unrolling Processes
Films by Laida Lertxundi, Hollis Frampton, and James Benning 

6:30pm / Tuesday 28 May 2013  
Irish Film Institute (6 Eustace Street, Temple Bar, Dublin)

The central work of this month's programme, curated by Esperanza Collado, is The Room Called Heaven, the most recent film from Los Angeles-based Spanish filmmaker, Laida Lertxundi. Lertxundi’s filmmaking expresses situations of process: perceptual processes, film production processes, and the process in which a film runs from one reel to the other.
The notion of process connects The Room Called Heaven with the structural reflections of Hollis Frampton's Lemon – an exploration of luminous modulation unrolling in time, translated to the volumetric illusion of space – and the positioning of the cinematographic medium between a mobile condition and a static one, as suggested in James Benning's Ten Skies

Lemon, Hollis Frampton 
USA, 1969, colour, silent, 16mm transferred to digital file, 7 mins.

"As a voluptuous lemon is devoured by the same light that reveals it, its image passes from the spatial rhetoric of illusion into the spatial grammar of the graphic arts." (Hollis Frampton).

A Room Called Heaven, Laida Lertxundi 
Spain-USA, 2012, colour, sound, 16mm, 11 mins.

American plains and high altitudes assembled in a B-roll structure take us to a place of sounds*. Plans américains show color and temperature shifts while an emotional room tone is sustained for the length of a 400ft camera roll. (Laida Lertxundi). *Vision: Sound on Screen, Michel Chion. 

Laida Lertxundi (Bilbao, 1981) makes films with non-actors, landscapes and sounds. Her films have been selected for the 2012 Whitney Biennial, and shown at the Views from the Avant-Garde New York Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival, CCCB Barcelona, Hong Kong Space Museum, ICA London, Tate Modern, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, etc. 

Ten Skies, James Benning 
USA, 2004, colour, sound, 16mm, 99 mins.

 "Ten Skies is a companion film to 13 Lakes. It too looks at light; here, directly at its source – the sun. All ten skies were filmed from my backyard in Southern California: skies formed from weather systems, mountain land currents, wildfires, pollution, and the wind; skies as a function of landscape; the sound giving clues about the land below. Each sky is a detail selected from the whole; sometimes filled with drama, sometimes a metaphor for peace. I'm really interested in the ways the sky changes in reaction to the landscape below – how the clouds look above the mountains, over flat lands, above a forest fire, which was kind of creating its own weather system. There's this one shot where these two white clouds are in the frame and then this black cloud from behind comes up and covers the whole frame – it makes a wipe! The whole thing is very dramatic, and it's just cloud movement. All the shots end up with a dynamic quality. I never saw that before, I never had the courage. It took me fifty years to look at the sky like that! I call it 'found paintings'. I think of my landscape works now as anti-war artworks – they' re about the antithesis of war, the kind of beauty we're destroying. The Ten Skies works came about because I'm thinking about what the opposite of war is." (James Benning) "One of this unique filmmaker's greatest works, and on paper, one of his most minimalist: ten shots of the sky, each lasting ten minutes. But the experience of watching – and hearing – it is fabulously rich and intense. The skyscapes are filled with life and change at the speed of light. The soundtrack creates an equally rich narrative space by way of ten short stories that are 'insinuated' without ever being 'explained.' A masterpiece." (Alexander Horwath)