This evening there was a special screening in the Harry Clarke theatre by Esther Urlus of 6 of her 16mm handmade analogue films:
Deep Red, 2012
Rode Molen (Red Mill), 2013
Konrad & Kurfürstendamm, 2014
Study for a Battle, 2019
The films were shown consecutively, as each responded to the material and mistakes of the film previous, each one portraying dizzying technicolour negative and positive images overlayed, inverted and in constant flux, sometimes looping indefinitely.
The experimental pieces evoked sensations of nausea and discomfort as the subject matter gradually darkened portraying historical landscapes and moments where creatures are destined to die. The subject matter varied from childhood scenes to nature in action, Dutch windmills and then primarily focused on horror stories of horses in wartime and their depiction. Some of the film was actually developed in horse urine to utilise the dark pigmented pee.
As analogue cameras cannot pick up sound, Urlus worked with a different artist for each film to create very specific and evocative lyrical music and sound effects, including snippets from the classic horror film Texas Chainsaw Massacre at the beginning of the film “Deletion”.
To quote Urlus before the screening of the final two films, “Deletion” and “Study for a Battle”:
‘If you are in pain, don’t worry it’s only 20 minutes long.’