static is an enclosed installation of six looped films, where each is edited down through “thresholding” the audio: any time the volume goes above a set and very low amplitude, that section is completely removed, and the film jump cuts to the next (nearly) silent sequence. These are in a tight corridor with three body-sized and wall-to-wall projections on either side, spatially putting viewers “in quotes” as they inadvertently cast shadows into the stories around them. High-volume loudspeakers accompany each projection, creating a hum out of the minor background noise left behind in all six Best Picture-winning films: Apocalypse Now, Casablanca, Silence of the Lambs, On The Waterfront, The Godfather II and Midnight Cowboy.
static creates a cacophony of silence, perceptually undulating between rich-but-noiseless stasis and over-determined visual action. What we see or experience is reliant not only on our familiarity with each film or filmic genre, but also on how static’s modular, disjunctured dialogues interact with one another and present themselves in the space. Their varied lengths, styles and narratives, all seen together, turn the work into an interstitial and open-ended montage of fleeting moments made monumental. Taken as a whole, it accents our collective, social relationships to archetypal stories and characters at large.
static is a generatively created artwork, using custom software developed by electronic engineer Hugh Denman and media artist Nathaniel Stern, specifically for this project. It premiered as part of TRANSCODE: Dialogues Around Intermedia Practice at the University of South Africa in Pretoria, August-September 2011.