alex mackenzie : mediaworks

parallax, 2004-05

16mm X 2 expanded cinema
on analytic projectors, ~50 mins, 2004-5
A suite of conjoined works performed with two antique 16mm analytic projectors. Using “found” footage as wide-ranging as medical training, human resources, land development and forestry management, the piece explores the interception of psyche and culture - the space where minds meets matter - and the conflict that ensues. Through an orchestration of speed variations, lens manipulation, masking and film chemistry paired with audio formulations of original field recordings, internet-sourced materials, appropriated recordings and the actual film soundtracks, Parallax invokes a dramatic subterfuge where order and chaos unbind as images shudder and shimmer across the screen.

These pictures hail from a mass of reels gathering dust in the basement below, their selection often based on the uncertain potential of a title writ small and blurry on an oily canister, withdrawn from some educational collection lacking currency. More than just empty nostalgia and retro novelties, these reels carry with a genuine magnitude of purpose, a kind of potency and ambition informed by their narrative arguments and the sophistication of their composition. After selecting, altering, manipulating and reintroducing these images through projection, the work speaks to the beauty in the image; the potential to be found in a handful of old film frames, re-exposed and studied under a magnifying glass, exercising and exorcising desire, fear and the human condition.

Two capsule reviews here.