Mechanical Ballet (Dilemma)

by Parsons, David

Film: 16mm 1975

Duration
9
Screens
2
Exhibition
London Filmmakers' Co-op, London, England

"Several areas of interest intersect in the making of Mechanical Ballet: an interest in 'found' footage (relating to collage, assemblage), the manipulation of the film strip and the film frame, time and duration, projection and the screen, and the film printing process, to highlight some of the main concerns… The original material that formed the basis for Mechanical Ballet was an anonymous short reel of film of what appeared to be car crash tests. In the original these tests are carried out in a deadpan and somewhat cumbersome manner. Reworked into a two-screen film and divorced from their original context they take on both a sinister and humorous quality. Using similar techniques to the aforementioned films, the repetitive refilming of the original footage in short sections emphasised the process of film projection. Somewhat like a child's game of two steps forward and one back, the viewer is made aware of the staggered progress of the film through the gate. In sharp contrast to the almost stroboscopic flicker of the rapid movement of the frames that alternate in small increments of light and dark exposures, the image takes on new meanings; the distorted reality of two heavy objects (the cars, one on each of the screens) 'dancing' lightly in space.” – D.P.

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