Louise Curham

Live performance

Wagga Wagga Art Gallery 2.30pm December 6

Expanded cinema as a crevice community 

Symposium presentation 10am Thurs Dec 8

Crevice communities – extending the life of expanded cinema 

Invited artist, HR Gallop Gallery, Dec 6-8

Symposium abstract/artist’s statement: Some art takes place in small, little-known, interdependent communities – crevices. Internationally, expanded cinema has flourished in a series of interconnected crevices but expanded cinema involves technology and live performance. The point of expanded cinema is that the work takes place live with an audience, within a community or a scene. Expanded cinema involves media technology, live performance and often takes a mix-all-the-arts attitude. This means the usual approaches to archiving are ineffective. Methods like preserving the physical objects through storage, duplication and digitisation do little to capture the experience of the work which I have argued is essential (Curham 2021). Intrigued by the problems expanded cinema poses for future audiences to experience works made by earlier generations of artists, working in the collaboration Teaching and Learning Cinema, my colleague and I have turned to re-enactment. Our process has evolved to include making instructions or ‘user’s manuals’ for expanded cinema. This performance will present two of these performances. The works on display in the gallery will consist of two digital screens showing video documentation of the re-enactments along with the user’s manual and instructions.

The works/live performances – Wagga Wagga Art Gallery 2.30pm December 6

Live performance durations: Horror Film 1, 9 minutes; Autumn Fog, 12 minutes. Involves 16mm projectors, audio playback is required for Horror Film 1.

Horror Film 1 is a landmark work of international expanded cinema from 1971. This work was made by British artist Malcolm Le Grice. Over the last ten years, TLC has worked with Malcolm progressing to making a manual for this work. In 2013 we visited Malcolm in the UK and as a result, made our first re-enactment of Horror Film 1, performed at the Canberra Contemporary Art Space. I am the current recipient of the Donald Horne Fellowship at the University of Canberra, concluding work on the manual for Horror Film 1. The performance involves three 16mm film projectors, a naked torso and 16mm film loops based on primary colours. The journey of the performance involves the performer moving from the screen or wall on which the three projections are projected together to make one image. A track of human breathing plays. The performer walks slowly back towards the projectors, as the performer’s shadow starts to block the projections, bringing into play the undulating colour from the three different film loops projected together. As the performer walks, slow meditative arm gestures are performed. In a slow walk, the performer moves back, concluding the performance at the projectors. Learn more about the 2013 project here.

Autumn Fog is a contemporary expanded cinema work made by film artist and film archivist Lynn Loo. Lynn and I worked together in 2019 to make instructions for Autumn Fog so that it could be performed without Lynn and thus be shown more widely. Our work on Autumn Fog was the focus of the exhibition The Stand-in Lab at PhotoAccess in Canberra in mid 2019. Autumn Fog involves two 16mm projectors running footage of Lynn’s autumnal garden. One image is negative, the other positive. They are projected on top of each other as one image. The images shiver, slightly out of sync with each other, making strange these familiar and everyday garden plants from a backyard in London. The experience is quiet, a 12 minute meditation.

Dr Louise Curham is an archivist, media artist and researcher based in Canberra. She is a lecturer in the School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University, teaching into the archives, records and audiovisual preservation subjects. Louise uses her art and her expertise as an archivist to explore themes that flow from old media, ranging from digitisation to the impact of algorithm-based technology on citizens.

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