projection 48

SUNDAY / FEBRUARY 22nd / 11am and 1pm
Book tickets here and here
Programme curated by Daniel Fitzpatrick

David Gatten 'The Extravagant Shadows' 2012, 175 minutes, color, sound,
DAVID GATTEN has since 1995 been producing one of the more justly celebrated bodies of work in contemporary moving-image practice, bridging a persistent gap between the worlds of ‘experimental film’ and ‘artists' moving image’. His work appears in film festivals, Whitney Biennials, solo and group exhibitions, and a recent critics poll devoted to avant-garde practice placed him among the top ten ‘filmmakers’ working today. His films speak to a tradition of practice that takes in luminaries such as Stan Brakhage and Hollis Frampton even as they are as likely to be seen in a gallery or museum as they are a purpose built cinema. Gatten himself evades the distinctions between these modes of practice, between artist and filmmaker, a link on his website offering us the uncomplicated descriptor- ‘David Gatten makes moving images’.    

The work Gatten has produced to date describes a complexity of intersections between the written or printed word and the moving-image, a site in which ‘text’ always functions as both language and image. Initially his enquiries were made exclusively in relation to the medium of film but recently he has begun to incorporate the possibilities of the digital. When possible David travels and appears alongside his films and this has meant his work has been less frequently seen in Europe, his presence at PLASTIK marks a significant break in this regard, the possibly of a rare and intimate introduction to David’s work and his unique contributions to the evolving art of the moving-image. 

THE FILMS OF DAVID GATTEN will feature two events including the European premiere of Extravagant Shadows, the artist's first digital work, as well as a retrospective of 16mm films hosted by the filmmaker.  

DAVID GATTEN - A rare screening of 16mm works presented in conversation with the artist. 
Venue: Temple Bar Gallery +Studios

The Great Art of Knowing (2004)

David Gatten’s works on film fully embrace the transience of the medium, each screening marking the films as unique material objects; adding new textures, and bringing them closer to a point where they can no longer be experienced as projected works. Many of his works exist in editions of just two or three and an opportunity to see a number of his films presented together is rare indeed. David will guide us through this selection of his works, reflecting on his processes to date.
Limited tickets available, please book early.   

THE EXTRAVAGANT SHADOWS (2012) 175 min, Digital
Venue: Irish Film Institute

Extravagant Shadows
“The Extravagant Shadows is a major work. Humanly essential, adventurous and necessary.”– Mark McElhatten.

“To merely watch this film is not enough; it must also be read and indeed inhabited […] it is an occasion to see and sense the events of disappeared pasts in the richness of the present.”  – Genevieve Yue, Reverse Shot

David Gatten’s most recent film is a monumental work both in terms of its significance (it arrives at a key moment in the artist’s development and marks a notable divergence in his processes) but equally in its length. Its running time will be intimidating to some but it is also key to its function, suggestive of an entirely different set of temporalities even as it extends many of the same concerns expressed through his 16mm works. Gatten’s interest in language and the written word remains firmly in place here but he is also concerned with wider shifts, including the bypassing of traditional analog media in favour of its digital equivalent and the ways in which this shift echoes earlier transformations. His film is at the same time deeply personal, a love letter as well as communiqué in which several temporalities coexist in slowly accumulating layers.

See here for an interview with Gatten about the film.  

Experimental Film Club and Plastik are delighted to have David Gatten in attendance for the film’s European premiere.  

More information on all screenings below-

David Gatten 16mm film print of What the Water Said

Film for Invisible Ink case no. 71: BASE-PLUS-FOG
2006, 10 minutes, black and white, sound, 16mm

What the Water Said, nos. 4–6 
2007, 17 minutes, color, sound, 16mm

Shrimp Boat Log 
2006 / re-cut and printed 2010, 6 minutes, color, silent, 16mm

The Great Art of Knowing 

2004, 37 minutes, black and white, silent, 16mm

Film for Invisible Ink case no. 71: BASE-PLUS-FOG
BASE-PLUS-FOG (2006), contains a series of rectangular, bevel-edged shapes that fade up like line drawings. Viewers familiar with handling celluloid might recognize these images as sprocket holes, though here, seen unusually close-up, they appear more abstract than referential. The film offers further clues with several text passages taken from a Kodak processing manual that describes the phenomenon of base-plus-fog, or the chemical build-up and resulting cloud that appears during development of otherwise unexposed film. Along the slightly raised edges of the sprocket holes we see, and in a sense read, the latent density of something that shouldn’t be there: a technical “error” that insists on garbled, grainy presence where we assume immaculate absence. Similarly, the “soundtrack” for BASE-PLUS-FOG, as for all the Invisible Ink films, consists of a supposedly blank optical track. Along with the mostly white screen (an effect of clear celluloid), it accumulates incidental noise—pops, scratches, and dust—every time it’s shown.
Aurally and visually, the film creates a record of all its projections, which could also be called transmissions. If, in processing and projection, BASE-PLUS-FOG demonstrates a cinematic condition, then the medium communicates its messages not only in the words and images it depicts, but from deep within its photochemical layer, on its worn-down surface, or beyond its visible borders. These, more often than not, are concealed communiqués, a mode of speaking that’s only subtly present, more often dismissed or ignored than taken as a kind of language.” – Genevieve Yue

What the Water Said, nos. 4–6
 “Strips of previously unexposed film went into the ocean and these fragments are what returned. In this latest installment of a nine year project attempting to document the underwater world off the coast of South Carolina both the sounds and images are the result of the oceanic inscriptions written directly into the emulsion of the film as it was buffeted by the salt water, sand and rocks; as it was chewed and eaten by the crabs, fish and underwater creatures.” - David Gatten.

Shrimp Boat Log
“Footage of a logbook of shrimp boat names and the boats in question at the mouth of the Edisto river on the east coast of the US, edited into 300, 29-frame shots on 16mm. Edited in line with Leonardo da Vinci's instruction number 918 in which he subdivided an hour into 3,000 equal sections.” - IFFR

The Great Art of Knowing
"At a time when avant-garde filmmaking leans more toward sensations and form than intellect and analysis, David Gatten's 16mm cycle "Secret History of the Dividing Line" attempts a rare feat: an investigation of the borders between word and image influenced equally by Stan Brakhage and Ludwig Wittgenstein (both veterans of related pursuits). The results are formidable, Gatten's project samples from the massive library of colonial Virginia gentleman William Byrd II, with occasional dips into his daughter Evelyn's journals, producing artfully composed typographies that suss out an invisible web of connections and epiphanies. But Gatten also expresses the indigestible bulk of history's verbiage through a mobile concrete poetry: Not all his quotes allow for reading; some words flutter past too quickly to serve as more than compositional elements, while others appear in negative, close-up and grainy, like luminous alphabetic windows. Attempting to glimpse a lost world recorded through texts, Gatten offers the paper-thin screen between past and present as just one of his project's ultimately ineffable dividing lines." – Ed Halter, Village Voice.