This year, digital projection will finally become the world’s prevailing film technology, dethroning 35mm film against the will of purists like Christopher Nolan. By the end of 2012, according to IHS Screen Digest Cinema Intelligence Service, the majority of theaters will be showing movies digitally, and by 2013, celluloid will slip to niche status, shown in only a third of theaters, and is likely to all but disappear completely by 2015.
In his project The Film Trilogy, part of the ZERO1 Biennal, Spanish artist Daniel Canogar explores our commercially conditioned impulse to cast off “old” technologies in favor of the new. His sculptural installations, made from discarded video formats, revisit obsolete technologies that are, or soon will be, relics of the film-watching experience.
Fittingly, the exhibition is taking place on the outskirts of Silicon Valley, the actual and symbolic center for technological innovation in America. And while much ink is spilled covering the Bay Area’s thriving start-up scene, it’s also been a hotbed for cinematic experiments and visual effects houses that have made major contributions to the film industry over the years, like Essanay Studios, Pixar, and Lucasfilm.
Canogar’s The Film Trilogy takes this as its point of departure, and the piece itself is about constructing “an accurate portrait of a society and an age… Light animations projected onto the installation appear to free the energy stored in the electronic waste, awakening in it memories of its past,” explains Canogar.
The installation is comprised of three parts, each of which involves a different dead or dying technology.
In Spin, Canogar reclaims a hundred discarded DVDs and uses their mirrored surfaces as a surface for projecting copied video content, while combining and remixing the disc’s diverse soundtracks to create an immersive acoustic experience.
In Tracks, the artist projects video animation over an environment constructed from VHS tape. The animation was inspired by graphic designer Saul Bass’ iconic credit sequences for Hitchcock’s films, as well as a reference to the filmmaker’s suspenseful plots.
Flicker, another piece on view in the exhibition, is a projection over 35mm celluloid film. This work explores the encounter between analog and digital, and between “Tracks” and “Spin.”
The Film Trilogy is on display at Montalvo Arts Center from July 29 to October 14, 2012.