alex mackenzie : mediaworks

escape velocity, 2000

escape velocity
3 X super 8 cartridge projectors
expanded cinema
~25 mins, 2000
Escape Velocity is based on a childhood fascination with Houdini, the great escape artist, magician and illusionist. It uses this icon of popular culture as a starting point to explore escape, illusions of freedom and real and metaphorical loops of life. Structured from re-photographed hand-processed found and original footage, the performance is presented using three late ‘60s era “Technicolor” brand, super-8 cartridge projectors. Functioning somewhat like radio station endless-loop-audio-cartridges, but with super-8 film instead of audio tape, the performance incorporates over two dozen custom loaded cartridges into a three-screen panorama using colour gels, lens variations, manipulations and a soundscape created with sound artist Claudio Cacciotti performed “live” through a sampler and audiotape mix.

Some versions of this piece also used a looping convertible "monitor"/screen Super 8 projector in front of the audience.

“Alex MacKenzie gave us turntablism with super-8 instead of vinyl-and in doing so made a loop from which Houdini will never escape-in his performance Escape Velocity which rounded out tonight’s Welcome to the Underground program.” (Images Website, 2000)

“Best known as programmer for The Blinding Light, Vancouver’s indie cinema devoted to underground delicacies, Alex MacKenzie is also a film performer, cranking up low-tech mayhems. Tonight, using a rare collection of 60s Technicolour-brand super-8 cartridge projectors re-loaded with original hand-processed and found footage, Mackenzie presents Escape Velocity, which seamlessly blends actual Houdini footage with early VR, jail cells, jaw-dropping scenes of domestic life and more. A projector duet widescreen LIVE presentation.” (Images Catalogue, 2000)