Aeolian agency and eco-mimesis in expanded cinema

Salt and Film

The aim of expanded cinema is often described in terms of activating the audience in the production of meaning. But, additional to this process, many expanded cinema works also intentionally or unintentionally re/create an environment. Here, the great tradition of landscape filmmaking overlaps with expanded cinema, and shares with it a desire to evoke an experience beyond the picture frame. By using Timothy Morton's description and analyses of eco-mimesis in art, seminal expanded cinema works by Chris Welsby, William Raban, Tony Hill and Anthony McCall are looked at again.

Parallel to this, analogue film-material has recently enjoyed a renewed popularity among artists and experimental filmmakers. This rebirth often focuses on the materiality and tactility of film itself. Besides the well known practice of scratching, painting and deteriorating film emulsion, new materials and methods have emerged. Caffenol developer made from simple house-hold products is now widely used by these practitioners, and in its wake more experimentation with organic materials and fluids is following suit. After the rayogram and the chemogram, the organigram appears.

Practical examples of these techniques show how concrete processes can produce abstract images and patterns. Through a series of experiments this process is further enriched and the results are organised into intricate compositions. What first appeared as unreadable noise is now translated into a language that can be read by musicians and audience.


Seeing Sound 2016, Bath Spa University, UK