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Special Events - NYC'71


The footage was shot in New York City in 1971 as the portrait of a city I was visiting for the first time. I had of course been there many times before - on film - so the form of the document needed to be distinct and reflect the specificity of the medium. The film was shot on a standard 8mm camera and I asked Kodak not to split the film - I had shot the 'second side'* holding the camera upside down. Projected on a 16mm projector, the four frames are thereby visible right way up.

In the early 1970s I was working intensively with 16mm and the NYC footage was included in screenings and performances, sometimes being slowed down using an analysis projector. In about 2000 I began experimenting with the images as digital video. But it was not until I heard the amazing compositions of the New York musician John Zorn in 2009 that I realised how I wanted to complete the film.

Note: the World Trade Center was in the early stages of construction at the time; the images of its sunken foundations we saw again in 2001.

*Standard 8mm film is a now obsolete guage of film. It was in fact 16mm film with an additional sprocket hole adjacent to each image frame. After the first exposure onto the 25 feet of film, the spool was turned over and fed back through the camera for the second exposure. At the laboratories after processing, the film was split down the middle and joined end to end to produce 50 feet of continuous projection time of about 3 minutes.

Premiered at the Australian International Experimental Film Festival, Melbourne.