Past Screenings

Julien Crépieux

Julien Crépieux, Microfilm

24 February – 2 March 2014

Microfilm (2012), black and white video, 77 min

Microfilm is a videographic transcription of a cinematographic piece; Samuel Fuller’s Pick Up On South Street (1953). It is not so much a remake or an adaptation but rather like a transcription in the musical sense: ‘to write out in full what was previously unwritten or arranging for an instrument, voice or combination other than that for which it was composed’. The structural model of the original is respected but the final object differs because of a distantiation and contextualisation, a sort of “mise en abyme” of the shooting of the film.

Microfilm takes each cut, each movement and camera axe, each value from the original film. Instead of actors, several monitors broadcast Fuller’s film within various interior and exterior spaces of an uninhabited chateau. Through this configuration, the original film becomes the memory of a film which inhabits a deserted décor and is haunted by the out of shot presence of the filmic apparatus.

Julien Crépieux (b.1979, Normandy) lives and works in Paris. Selected exhibitions include How High the Moon, galerie Jérôme Poggi, Paris, France (2013); La quatrième dimension, Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain, Nice, France (2013); Hapax Legomena, Mercer Union-Centre for Contemporary Art, Toronto, Canada (2012); The eyes of soul, Fondation GODIA, Barcelona, Spain (2012); Le sentiment des choses, FRAC Île-de-France, Le Plateau, Paris, France (2011); Séance Catalogue, South London Gallery, London (2010) and Les Feuilles, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (2009). His work is held in public collections including Frac Île-de-France / Le Plateau (FR); FRAC Haute-Normandie (FR); FRAC PACA (FR); GAMEC, Musée d’art moderne et contemporain de Bergame (IT) and Fondation KADIST (FR).

Microfilm is courtesy of Galerie Jérôme Poggi.

James Clar

James Clar, Tom, 2012

18 – 23 February 2014

Tom (2012)

A Tom & Jerry cartoon is re-edited frame by frame to remove Jerry from the cartoon. What is left is a video about a paranoid, violent cat running manically through the house.

Interview with James Clar, February 2014

You originally studied film and animation, and Tom appears to allude to your interest in popular culture and its influence upon your work, but also seems quite different to your wider practice. Is there a direct relationship between your video works and light sculptures?

To me, light sculptures and video works are very similar in nature. Essentially what you experience as a viewer in both cases is light streamed to your eye, then you interpret and analyse it to get meaning. The transition of my work from video to light sculptures happened in graduate school, and in the last few years I’ve returned back to using video.

I think there were a lot of conceptual references to the medium of film even when I was creating static light sculptures. For instance, The Setting Sun (2011) shows the colour of the sky as it sets into the horizon, with each light being a frame of time. This is reminiscent of an animation, but shows all the frames at the same time. Other works, like The Difference Between Me & You, (2010) use TVs as a sculpture while diffusing the light coming from them.

The overarching themes of my work deal with technology and media’s effect on the individual and society. I try to use technology as an art form in order to critique the influence of technology.

Where did the idea for Tom come from?

I was thinking about relationship dynamics at the time, and calling to mind various pop culture pairs and how they relate to each other; for instance Batman & Robin, Roadrunner & Coyote, and then Tom & Jerry.  I was thinking about how they work together, and how their characters are individually. Tom struck me as an interesting character because you feel bad for him, and yet you don’t want him to win. And then I thought “What if Jerry wasn’t even there and all this happens in his mind?” Then I think the context of his actions becomes even more extreme, and in fact you almost feel even more sympathetic towards him, while at the same time think he’s even more neurotic as a character. It amplifies these two extremes of sympathy and disgust.

Why did you choose to remove any sound from the original cartoon?

I removed the sound from the video because I didn’t want to leave any trace of Jerry in there, either visually or audibly.

You made Tom upon returning to New York after living in Dubai for five years, and describe the piece as a tongue-in-cheek take on the creative process an artist needs to take, as well as a satirical look at American politics. Could you expand upon this? How did living in Dubai, and returning to the USA, inform your practice?

For me, the work has personal meaning as well as a broader socio-political context. I made the work within the first few months of moving back to New York from Dubai. New York is an intense place, and working in the arts is quite competitive with the number of artists trying to make it here. You have to really push yourself and push your mind, which can sometimes have negative effects such as fear and paranoia.

The broader socio-political view of the work is that Tom is an allegory for the USA. He represents the fear and paranoia of US foreign policy, always looking for an enemy that sometimes doesn’t exist. The ending of the video is especially telling as Tom ties himself to a rocket that explodes into the US flag, and the last shot is of a ‘cave’ that is empty.  This alludes to the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, with US soldiers searching the caves for him in Afghanistan and coming up empty.

James Clar (b.1979), is a light and installation artist who explores the effects of media and technology on our perceptions of culture and identity. His interest is in new technology and production processes, using them as a medium, while analysing and critiquing their modifying affects on human behavior.  Solo exhibitions include Data Packets, Galeria Senda, Barcelona (2013); Iris Was A Pupil, Carbon12 Gallery, Dubai (2012); Art Futures, and Art HK 11, Hong Kong (2011). Group exhibitions include Coming To Terms, Jackman Humanities Institute, Toronto and This is Not a Love Song, Museum Palau de Virreina, Spain (both 2013); Segment 3 & Segment 2, Borusan Contemporary Museum, Istanbul and Forwards / Vorwaerts, Q Contemporary, Beirut (all 2012). His work is held in collections in Europe, Dubai and the USA. The artist lives and works in New York.

Visit James Clar’s website


Mika Taanila

Mika Taanila, Optical Sound

10 – 17 February

Optical Sound (2005) 6 min, 35mm

Short film or single channel video installation

Screening format: 35 mm film or file

Original format: 16/35 mm film, DVCAM; 1:2.35; colour and b&w; Dolby Digital 5.1, no dialogue.

Director, editor and co-script: Mika Taanila

Cinematography and co-script: Jussi Eerola

Music: [The User]

Sound design: Olli Huhtanen

Graphic design: Timo Mänttäri

Production: Kinotar/Cilla Werning, Ulla Simonen, Lasse Saarinen

We live in a wold steeped in technology. Optical Sound is based on a live performance of Symphony #2 for Dot Matrix Printers by [The User]; obsolete office tools transformed into musical instruments of the future. The film combines nocturnal time-lapse footage, miniature surveillance camera images and a musical score photocopied directly onto clear celluloid.

A Physical Ring (2002) 5 min, 35 mm

Short film or multi-screen video installation

Screening format: 35 mm film or file

Original format: 35 mm film; 1:1.37; b&w; Dolby SR/stereo, no dialogue.

Director: Mika Taanila

Music: Mika Vainio of Pan Sonic

Special effects/ cinematography: Jussi Eerola

This ready-made film is based on anonymous footage of a physics experiment filmed in Finland in the early 1940s. Taanila discovered an abandoned film can at the Finnish Film Archive labelled with a dirty sticker saying ‘physical ring’. His attempts to find out more led nowhere. All we apparently see are kinetic ‘magic’ elements: fire, magnets, heat, metal and motion.

Verbranntes Land (2002) 6:36 min, video

Short film or video installation for a monitor with headphones.

Screening format: DVD or files Original format: VHS; 1:1.33; colour; stereo, no dialogue.

Director: Mika Taanila

Music: Kiila

Use and the passage of time wipe out the electromagnetic data on VHS tape. For Taanila, this gradual, inevitable decay is a painful reminder of his own inevitable ageing, of no longer being able to remember names, places and numbers as well as he once did; a metaphor for memory processes; a seven minute brain scan. The no-budget music promo clip commissioned by the Finnish band Kiila is based on an instructional videotape.

Mika Taanila (b.1965) lives and works in Helsinki. Solo exhibitions include Aikakoneita – Time Machines, Kiasma, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland; My Silence, Mediabox, ForumBox, Helsinki, Finland; Tomorrow’s New Dawn, CAM, Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, USA (all 2013); Installaatioita – Installations, Galleria Heino, Helsinki (2010); On The Spot 4, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, Germany (2008). Group exhibitions include Aichi Triennale, Nagoya, Japan (2013); dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Saska, Germany (2012); Architektonika, Hamburger Banhof, Berlin, Germany (2011); La chanson, Seville Museum of Contemporary Art, Spain (2011); Artctic Hysteria: New Art from Finland, touring exhibition including P.S.1, New York; Ludwig Museum, Budapest; Kunsthalle Helsinki, Finland (2008-10).

Click here to download Ken Hollings’ essay ‘Activate Only When Necessary: Utopian Memories in the Documentary Films of Mika Taanila’, published in the catalogue for Taanila’s exhibition Human Engineering at Migromuseum, Zurich, April 2005.

Click here to download Olaf Möller’s article ‘Picture-Perfect Future’, published in Film Comment, May – June 2005.


All my films are based on some already existing phenomenon, person, atmosphere or musical work.  To me, the most stimulating time begins when I have stirring material on the editing table and a long intimate working spell with it ahead.  My films are constructions put together piece by piece; they float in the temporal dimension like some light cubist sculptures.

Optical Sound – constructing film from a music performance

I was really fascinated when I first saw the Symphony #2 for Dot Matrix Printers live. The composition was so delicate and the live performance amazed me.  After that I got to know Emmanuel and Thomas of [The User] a little, then I started to dream of making a film inspired by this lovely piece of musique concrète, not only by documenting it but rather going inside it, like being an  injection.  I tried to figure out and fantasise what would the inner life of a printer be like. I was maybe thinking of the science fiction film Fantastic Voyage (1966), combined with the mechanical humour of Tati’s Playtime (1967).

The idea was to go into the mind-set of the machine.  What are they telling us?  What are they dreaming of?  The microscopic scale was on my mind.  Then Jussi Eerola (cinematography, co-script) came up with the idea of these wide time-lapse shots of office buildings.  The combination of these office windows, walls and a bunch of people working there overtime, together with the inner close-ups have a strong contrast of scales here.  Also the rapid images of [The User]’s original score are important part of the film.  I made them with a small xerox machine, copying directly on 35mm film, so this part of the film was made without a camera or a computer.

More thoughts on Optical Sound

Optical Sound is a time travel on three levels.  The music composed by [The User] for matrix printers still echoes the sound of a future society yet unknown to us.  At the same time, the bulky computers take us back to the end of the 1980s and at the level of thought, even further back – to the 1910s and the early dream of the Italian Futurists:

“For years, Beethoven and Wagner were in our hearts.  But now we are fed up with that and we receive a lot more pleasure from the noise of the trams and the whirring of engines.  We receive pleasure from the swirls of water, air and gas in round pipes. We enjoy the mental orchestrations, which are formed by clanging store windows, banging doors and electric plants. … Now, as we have perhaps a thousand different kinds of machines, we can distinguish between a thousand different kinds of sounds.  In the future, as the number of new machines increases, we will be able to distinguish between ten, twenty or thirty thousand different sounds!” Luigi Rosso, The Art of Noises, 1913

Physical Ring – constructing film from found footage

When I first encountered the found footage I was mesmerised by just watching that un-edited film.  I wanted to make a new piece from that can, but to keep it very simple, very close to a “ready made” film.  So I kept the editing very simple – only throwing away the parts that were originally under-exposed and very dark; everything else is there.  At first the film was silent, but this felt too nostalgic and sentimental.  I asked Mika Vainio of Pan sonic to compose music to follow the flow of the edit.  I think my suggestion to him was to create music from 60 years into the future.

In the single channel version (here Onsceen), there is a beginning, a middle and an end.  However, I also show this piece as a site-specific multi-channel installation.  On the editing table I enjoyed watching the elastic movements, which I thought should never stop.  I wanted to create a flow of movement.  I guess the installation version came out of this: it should never stop.  The images rotate out-of-sync on separate walls thus creating a nice elastic, physical bend sinuously moving to the music.

The onscreen programme

To me these three pieces are about human engineering.  I’m intrigued how technology affects our psyche.  It’s all around us, and we can celebrate it or be critical towards it or whatever.  Nevertheless, it’s hard to escape.  I guess these three pieces address some of the more fragile sides of the techno-craze: obsolescence, ageing and collapsing.  The digital perfections of images and archiving sometimes feel scary; I grew up with now vanishing analogue mediums, like cassettes and VHS.  Not to be able to restore and remember everything is a merciful idea.