Where a Straight Line Meets a Curve

by Butler, Brad, Mirza, Karen

Film: 16mm 2003

Lux Open, RCA, London, UK, 2003

Where a straight line meets a curve is a durational sculpture, of real and imagined activity shot entirely in one room.

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Where A Straight Line Meets A Curve, first began as a visual transcription of the early feminist novel Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, which through the process of collaboration with the sound artist David Cunningham, developed into an epic meditation on the nature of pictorial space within experimental film. This theme is achieved simply by showing how the daily passage of light, hitting the walls of a small white painted room, can transform its geometry into a complex shifting field of dematerialised colour, space and light. It is a film concerned with the objective reduction of space, a film 'about' the recording and representation of space and the politics of the viewing space of film itself. Projected onto two adjacent screens, the visual material is constructed so that light and colour form relationships between and across screens continuously, redefining the viewer's perception of the space presented through the images. Time is measured out in ways analogous to the coming and going of the everyday, exposing the passing of time to a (continuous) present.The work questions the usual strategies of the viewer, mediating between the mental image, the dimension of physical space, and the illusionistic space of cinema. The sound is constructed from the speech of the filmakers within the space broken down by a process of re-amplification and re-recording to a point where the resonant frequencies of the space have an equal value to any spoken content. A structure of loops and phase patterns internally resonating both within the filmic space and in parallel with the textual content of the intertitles. Through the framing and re-framing of images and the constructed relationship of sound, text and image, the film creates perspectual shifts and unexpected confrontations that confound our usual way of distinguishing between the actual and the representational. "The often unacknowledged aspiration of the American avant-garde film has been the cinematic reproduction of the human mind. Structural film approaches the condition of meditation and evokes states of consciousness without mediation, that is, with the soul mediation of the camera" - P. Adams Sitney.


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