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Monday, September 24, 2018

Emulsion Erosion

Episode Ninety-Three: Emulsion Erosion.
In which the Pharm Life pills suffer the moire effect.



1 comment:

  1. Something this week about patterns. Repetition of lines, repetition of shapes, repetition creating the means of communication. Communications systems. Systems overlay. How we tell our story.

    Overlay erosion. Pattern disruption. System breakage. Pattern interpretation. Miscommunication.

    The first frame coming from Bill Morrison's "Dawson's City: Frozen Time" (2017), a dreamlike telling of the story behind five hundred and thirty some-odd silent films buried in the Yukon for fifty years, and their excavation and recovery. An impression of the past told through image fragments, title narration, and a rooted, atmospheric soundtrack by Alex Somers. Having been a projectionist for much of my life, the dual nature of celluloid -its physical fragility vs. its intangible potency - is a constant for me. The persistent water damage in 'Dawson City' becomes a central character, reminding us of the transience of our every story. How time's decay will ultimately claim one's hold on testament. All is Vanity.

    Only, in this case I didn't have enough time to play with the emulsion decay properly: it doesn't convey quite as I'd like.

    The Soap Strip frame is a broken teacup, relaying a pattern similar to that of the family china that sits stored in a box in the back of my closet, neglected. A throwaway joke in an X-Files seen this last week had Mulder suggest that he and Scully start shopping for China patterns – the owning of family china being an emblem of middle-class security and family unity, and, even when ridiculed as was in that show, it marks a world in which I will forever be apart. The cup is broken. Both functionally useless and symbolically pointless (as a precious thing now damaged), it serves only to relay fracture lines and shadows.

    The Pharm Life pills are seeing through their own respective filters. Patterned screens that, when held up against each other, create a third pattern, a moire. In some cases, the moire reveals a hidden message. Usually, however, it merely creates a confusing, nauseating unintended blur out of our meaning.

    The resolution frame shows strong vertical lines: reminiscent of prison bars, or perhaps a waving Stars and Stripes. So there's an implication of strong, resonant, overwhelming symbolism. Yet, this is a dish towel. In fact, it's actually from a photo of a towel being used to bake bagels, so it's life-bringing. The large, soft knit evident next to the stripes conveys humanity. Home.

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