Jason Dee’s practice-led research uses digital technology to distort the previously fixed spatial and temporal boundaries of 20th-century analogue films. This approach works in conjunction with installation techniques that alter cinema’s carefully aligned layout of projector, screen and audience. These two methods combine to reveal the fragmented structure and viewpoints of a hybrid medium that has been in a constant state of flux and renewal for over a century.
Cinema has always been a layered form of ‘out of body’ experience: the physical film-strip has its animated, ephemeral shadow projected onto a screen, which is in turn transformed from an object to a ‘window’ that pulls the viewer into the film world, leaving their bodies sat motionless in the dark. Digital transfer both heightens and, paradoxically, reveals this process: the material structure of the filmstrip becomes as illusory as the narratives it once contained, suspending its ‘body’ in a form of immaterial digital afterlife. Yet the alternative viewing patterns allowed by this new media also help to reveal the filmstrip’s physical structure, creating a self-reflexive distance unattainable to 20th-century cinema audiences.
Digitally altering the temporal structure of a film space (by freezing, or looping scenes) cuts it off from the viewer’s own space and time. Similarly, by shifting cinema’s traditional layout to a gallery setting, viewers are invited to step back and contemplate the ill-fitting relationship between the screen, projector and their own shifting viewpoint that the installation creates. By using these methods, this work places viewers in shifting hybrid zones that allow their perception to oscillate between awareness of, and surrender to, the physical and illusory aspects of cinema.
From this alternative angle a new light is shone onto old recordings and viewing methods. The fractured worlds revealed by this approach are not intended to highlight the ‘fakeness’ or obsolescence of film; instead these structural gaps reveal the outer limits and hidden layers within which previously unseen aspects of past recordings are stored. These installations offer a unique insight into how digital transfers both duplicate and subtly undermine analogue film’s carefully constructed worlds, shifting its fixed boundaries and framed structure to reveal underlying anxieties and contingent qualities previously hidden at the edges, or below the surface of film narratives. In this context by exposing and altering film’s underlying form, the influence of its structure on our own subjective sense of being, perceiving and remembering is brought to the surface.
Jason was the 2013 winner of the AVANCA | CINEMA 2013 – International Conference prize, with his paper "Celluloid´s Digital Other". http://www.avanca.org/EN/historico.php?recordID=2013
For further information, please visit: www.jasondee.co.uk