Karissa Hahn: Emulsion Electrons Imbued
In Person: Karissa Hahn and OJOBOCA
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The HandEye (Bone Ghosts)(2012) by OJOBOCA; 16mm, b&w, sound, 7 minutes, from the maker bay area premiere
In early 20th century Vienna, Robert Musil invited Sigmund Freud to partake in what he called “a very special séance.” Seated at the table, Musil revealed that they were going to summon the ghost of Franz Anton Mesmer, discoverer of animal magnetism and forefather of hypnosis. Musil told Freud about a series of dreams he had which involved a talking flea. Musil, who had secretly become a follower of the imaginationist school of animal magnetism wanted to question Mesmer as to the meaning of these dreams, in which said flea foretold of impending catastrophes all over Europe. It is said that Mesmer obligingly appeared and spoke in a repetitive and oblique manner. Mesmer’s words were transcribed by Freud in several scraps of paper and hidden separately in a series of objects that, owing to the vicissitudes of history, would end up in the collections of three Viennese museums. Legend has it that he who could piece together the text would find instructions for the assembly of a film.
We visited these museums and, unable to break away the objects from their glass prisons, have made an attempt to reconstruct the film, hoping that the magnetic force inside the objects would transfer to the film’s silver halide crystals, allowing us to make sense of the single written testimony leftover from the séance. In her diary as the lone entry for that date, Eugenie Schwarzwald, the only other known participant wrote: “A distinguished flea hypnotizes the ghost of a distinguished man.” (OJOBOCA)
Sea of Vapors (2014) by Sylvia Schedelbauer; digital video, color, sound, 15 minutes, from the maker
A cascade of images cut frame by frame flow into an allegory of the lunar cycle. (Sylvia Schedelbauer)
Emulsion Electrons Imbued (2014) by Karissa Hahn; digital video, color, sound, 1 minutes, from the maker world premiere
I coalesce feeling to imbue the emulsion with memory, from my only photograph with you….
When that camera flashed I had no idea the product would be the source of my most sacred object….
(((((Before the chart of the electro-magnetic spectrum existed; and after we noticed these waves of electrons were moving closer and farther apart.)))))
The Somber Vault (2014) by John Powers; digital video, color, silent, 6 minutes, from the maker bay area premiere
“He achieved just the feeling I’m after—he makes the viewers feel that they are trapped in a room where all the doors and windows are bricked up, so that all they can do is butt their heads forever against the wall.” (Mark Rothko)
Three sets of windows: Florence, Italy (1534-71), New York, New York (1959-61), Fultonville, New York (2013). (John Powers)
Things (2014) by Ben Rivers; 16mm, color, sound, 21 minutes, from LUX bay area premiere
This film was a challenge set by a friend, to make something in my home over the course of the year. Coming from a country where the seasons are very evident, I am interested in how they affect people’s sense of the world, moods, and our understanding and relationship to our environment. These mood changes feed into the film—in the “Winter” section the film is very internal and reflective, looking at the details around the house, and back to the things I’ve collected. In “Spring,” the atmosphere brightens, there are humans, hands holding a book or drawing, an eye reading. “Summer” is a mix of both the joy of these things, countered with a sense of unease. “Autumn” then becomes a further remove of representation of the space I live in, and in an uncertain state—are the walls crumbling around me? Is this the future, partly foretold in Fable? (Ben Rivers)
Apocalypse for You (2014) by OJOBOCA; 16mm double, color, sound, 20 minutes, from the maker bay area premiere
For our residency at Experiments in Cinema v.9.72 we decided to make a 16mm double-projector performance. We brought two 16mm projectors, which we modified to run at about 8 frames per second and a handmade contact printer to makes copies of the films in the Basement Films collection.
Somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer size of the collection (over 4,000 film prints) we decided to focus on a single shot from one of the films and copy it over and over using our contact printer. Inspired by the New Mexican landscape, and its end-of-days feel, we decided to tackle the topic of the apocalypse. We found a shot we liked and then proceeded to make copies of it in the darkroom. Using different color filters we created multiple variations of the shot. We stopped copying it either when we felt we had the perfect amount or when we got tired of doing the same thing over and over in the dark.
In the end, to break up the monotony of this single shot we added one more shot to the performance as a coda. We didn’t have to search for long since on the same roll where we found our first shot we came upon the print’s natural coda, the so-called “china girl” or “leader lady”. We copied her into our footage and then spent the last days working on the sound, which we made up from the soundtracks of films in the collection and some original narration we produced.
Finally for our double projection we presented the original shot on a film looper on one projector and our roll of copies on the other. The two images were projected not totally aligned over one another. This, plus the very slow speed of the projectors created a flickering, pulsating image that appeared to progressively change yet remain the same. We called our performance, Apocalypse for You. (OJOBOCA)
CROSSROADS 2015 receives generous support from: the San Francisco Arts Commission, San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund/Grants for the Arts, Fleischhacker Foundation, Zellerbach Family Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and The Willow Foundation