IS Internal System

IS Internal System: Autonomic Investigation: A Film that Refers to its own Processes 1974-75

In 1974 FM/TRCS was accepted to be shown by the Experimntl 5 Film Festival in Knokke-Heist, Belgium, in a casino by the sea. Agfa Gevaert Film was also sending to all filmmakers accepted into the festival, 400 foot rolls of undeveloped 16mm new agfa color 6.15 stock to be used to make a second film for the festival.

My proposal to them for the new film would be a 45 minute film exploring the internal mechanics of shooting four rolls of film using their new stock. I immediately set off researching the spec details of the new stock in comparison to their other films and comparing it to what I knew about Kodak stock which I had been working with. I had shot some Agfa super8 in Greece in ’73 and liked the pastel colors. Kodak, after Kodachrome was no longer available had sacrificed purer colors in exchange for a more versatile stock resulting in ectrachrome’s brown/cyan look. For artists this felt like someone had dumped dirt into the pigments.

A Few Notes from 1974:
“I am dissatisfied with the metaphoric quality of film where light is used to record ‘reflections’ onto the emulsion in order to create a story. Sound on film has a more immediate physical presence than image on film as sound exists in space and is not limited to the square of light that movie images are bound to. Film should be as active as music, its referent itself. The linear projection of images draws us out of the temporal fluctuation of light and into the dream-like state of thoughts; the new film needs to be without images.

The mechanics of recording and projecting film is based on the mechanics of the body: eyes, ears and brain, the logic of a system of connecting functions. Light is a catalyst for change in living matter, including gelatin on celluloid; the structure that a film runs through is the non-organic/organic equivalent of the structure that a bio-electrical impulse runs through. The camera is the beginning of the end of the necessity of bio functions as we know them and the beginning of the possibility of artificial intelligence. Tools, once the extension of the human brain, are the threshold to developing primitive bio logic systems into new not necessarily organic reflexions.

The value of the film’s subject matter has always been considered greater than its recording process (light enters the camera, activates the silver halide grains in the layers of the exposed film’s gelatin emulsion and then is developed/processed in a chemical bath, the resulting ‘images’ the raison d’etre).

Internal System is an investigation to its expose the filmic process and test the limits of recording while keeping in mind the human need to duplicate itself in mechanical terms, to explore one’s own functions thru creating a parallel system (body vs mechanical system).

The film is divided into four parts of 400ft each: light to dark, dark to dark, dark to light and light to light, based not on identifiable visual changes but quantitative changes (the amount of light or its lack)
by using the fstop changes on the camera lens. The sound is recorded from the camera motor that parallels the change in fstop onto the optical track of the film; the Auricon camera records sound as a variable density track on the right side of the film. The algorithm for the four light variations was constructed by Joanne Elam and myself. The beginning title of the film reflects the technical specifications required to create the film.”

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