Artwork created from woven, gored, boiled, melted and hand-drilled analog film is currently on display at a major exhibition of Concordia film production professor Richard Kerr’s experimental visual art in Toronto.
Postindustrial will run until June 10 at the gallery space of the Toronto international Film Festival (TIFF) Bell Lightbox space. Its centre pieces are Kerr’s latest “motion picture weavings” – an art form he has dedicated himself to for over 20 years.
Cinema, painting and sculpture
Kerr describes the celluloid weavings as “partly cinema, partly painting and partly sculpture.”
To create them, he threads strips of salvaged – and often manipulated and purposefully damaged – 35mm and 65mm film together and frames them. The pieces simultaneously deconstruct film into a sequence of individual images while allowing broader patterns of light and colour to emerge. They are a key area of his research at Concordia.
Other installations in Postindustrial include a five-hour digital loop made from 160 hand-painted and hand-manipulated slides from Hollywood trailers, and a video showcasing film that he pierced with a drill and then exposed to moonlight.
“I’m interested in what any given material will do, as opposed to creating stories or narratives, or creating social issues around it,” Kerr explains.
He started testing the artistic potential of film material in the late ‘90s, capitalising on the rise of digital film and the demise of analog. Universities, libraries and the NFB were getting rid of their physical film and Kerr started collecting it.
“My starting materials are all recycled and all free, so in a practical sense I have no real expenses for them, yet they have commercial value by the time I’ve finished,” he said.