alex mackenzie : mediaworks

medi(cine), 2003

16mm X 2, expanded cinema
20 mins, 2003
Performed on two 16mm projectors using four unaltered educational films; two identical copies of a film on nurse training are drawn in and out of synch, layered one over the other. The film instructs on the proper use of the body in lifting, trolleying, and physically transfering patients from one place to another—bed, wheelchair, etc. Presented outside of its intended context, the film becomes a ballet of movement and stillness within the antiseptic confines of the hospital and barren film studio. The second half of this piece continues within the parameter of two films layered, but in this case one film explores the role of DNA and primarily uses animation, while another, entitled THE REHABILITATION OF DELLA DERLEIN, is an awkward and strangely static film discussing the care and recovery of this particular patient. Poorly recorded voice-over and an incoherent cutting style make this 16mm oddity feel more like a home-movie patient case-study than a standard educational film. Together they pit the core structures of life—DNA—against the brutality of a real human being and her suffering. This grouping also explores the film language of two entirely disparate films and the common spaces they inhabit—the pacing of edits, mise-en-scene, and narrative imposition into non-narrative studies.

Original promotional text:
Through a subtle and mesmerising recombination of rare 16mm American medical films (originally intended for doctors' eyes only), MEDI(CINE) jars us with unexpected clashes of imagery and subtle gestures of reinterpreted visual and audio information, rendering illness as beauty—the decomposing and recomposing body as site of transformation. Using colour gels, hand-masking and image-layering in a dual projector live presentation, MEDI(CINE) blends original sounds with re-tooled audio in an expanded cinema performance of physical catastrophe.

The title was taken from an earlier web-based artwork found here.