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EFS Presents “True Wholes” @ Filmbase

The Nautilus Shutter Experiments: Part 2; True Wholes

An audio visual performance by Anja Mahler in collaboration with Dean Kavanagh

Date Saturday 3rd December @ 3:00pm Tickets €7 Duration 70mins

Venue Filmbase, Curved Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2

True Wholes situates itself directly in the path of light; part lens, lantern, and laboratory, it aims to function as a dialogue between the mechanism of cinema, light and its source. Simultaneously camera and theatre, the various apparatus are constructed into a dialogue charting lunar, solar and planetary explorations from the galactic to the topographic, all visions in a luminous flux.

The audio visual performance is focused around the use of two mechanical devices; an apparatus custom designed to trace the motion of light (as perceived from Earth); an opto-mechanical device used in the projection of motion pictures. The performance is a process of composing and decomposing images through the diffraction and refraction of light in a process that journeys from the microscopic to the telescopic. For the performance Dean Kavanagh creates a live soundscape, interrogating the apparatus and suspending the actions in a sonic space.

Structured as ten scenes in five acts, True Wholes is a science of light, sound and machine that explores potential drama in properties of light. The viewers are invited into a selectively lit space, akin to an operating theatre, where the performers (stage engineer and assistants) develop and execute each scene in chronology.

The title of the work is inspired by a quote from Arthur Zajonc[1] and by extension the writings of Fritjof Capra[2]. Both physicists address a historical understanding of light, by entwining science, society and the rise of culture. Newton’s corpuscular view of light also termed ‘Newtonian world-machine’ is a particular concern. The modern scientist’s views are criticised for excluding experience (colour, sound, taste and smell) from the realm of scientific discourse and favouring the methodology of reductionism in experimental research. While Capra argues that science needs to develop the concepts and insights of holism and systems theory by the latter half of the 21st century, Zajonc elaborates on how Romanticists and American transcendentalists of the 19th century, most famously Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, would revolt against modern scientific thought.

‘It would be a century before poets would turn on Newton and the despotism of his botanizing eye, they would then lament the dismembering of the world into parts, so that true wholes were never more seen again.’

True Wholes is the second part of The Nautilus Shutter Experiments, Anja Mahler’s on-going series of experimental engagements with an opto-mechanical device. The sole aim is to explore the perception of light through an apparatus that operates cinema.

Anja Mahler‘s practice is situated in the field of moving image, installation and performance. She is seeking to create a dramaturgy of light through the manipulation of time and the expressive use of moving image technology and the human body. From research to presentation, her work is a concise and calculated engagement with the science of light.

Dean Kavanagh is an experimental filmmaker from Wicklow, Ireland. He became a member of the international filmmaking collective Experimental Film Society in 2008. Since then he has completed over 60 films of short and feature length, which have been screened worldwide. His work is intensely visual, creating detailed atmospheres that respond to the interaction between space, time and the human body. Rural and domestic themes diaphanously sheath a rigorously formalistic interplay between sound and image.

  • This is a seated performance.

  • Tickets are on sale at the door.

  • Warning: some mild flicker.

[1] Catching the Light: The Entwined History of Light and Mind, Arthur Zajonc, 1995 [2] The Turning Point: Science, Society, and the Rising Culture, Fritjof Capra, 1982

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