alex mackenzie : mediaworks

nightsky, 2002

super-8 cartridge projector X 3
25 mins, 2002
NIGHTSKY is a three-screen film and audio performance piece. Using a
collection of Super 8 "Technicolor" brand cartridge projectors (circa 1969)
reloaded with original hand-processed footage and accompanied by a live
sampler/custom burned CD soundscape, NIGHTSKY combines both modern and outmoded audio-visual technologies to reposition evocative imagery stolen and recontextualized from classroom science films. Solar radiation, planetary patterns, gravity, the moon landing and the mysteries of the universe are presented as rephotographed hand-processed Super 8, manipulated with gels, masking, lenses and sleight-of-hand to explore space in all of its manifestations.

“The sheer virtuosity of MacKenzie’s live film performance is enough to blur the line between cinema and historical re-enactment. NIGHTSKY unfolds like a window-seat view of a return voyage to the sea of tranquility, its images accumulate, overlap and recede with mesmerizing calm, sea and sky gradually yielding to a horizonless black space teeming with stars and satellites and fellow sojourners. Frail souls like us, blanched and zealous faces barely visible behind their visors, the grainy, re-photographed and hand-processed found footage of Armstrong et al evokes more than the (admittedly exquisite) pathos of watching an excessive century’s grandest icons nearly vanish before our eyes. Earthbound in the mortal intimacy of an obsolete “home-movie” technology and the all-too-human touch of MacKenzie’s performance, we surpass nostalgia. This is history-that which is made only when reproduced-the vital urge to comprehend what has not been lived, to find meaning in the abandoned fragments of mere grandeur.” (Jeremy Rigsby, Artistic Director, Mediacity)