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Graham Ellard & Stephen Johnstone

UK, 2009
15 minutes, Colour, Optical, 1:1.33
Original format: 16mm film
Available formats: 16mm

Machine on Black Ground fuses found early 60s architectural documentary footage of the construction of Coventry Cathedral with our own recently filmed, optically printed and highly abstract colour field material (derived from shooting directly through or into the modernist stained glass in The Meeting House at Sussex University and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin). Here we began filming from a point of view that imagined a fundamental relationship between the film frame and the individual block of stained glass, and as we did so developed an intuition that many modernist sacred spaces were built as giant light modulators or projectors of some kind. Concurrent with this is the suggestion that the occluded view through the intensely coloured and almost opaque beton glass stained window blocks is akin to a view through the porthole or a lens of a capsule (perhaps a film frame itself, perhaps a space craft or submarine) into a dreamlike, subterranean or distant world. Like all of our recent work, this latest film emphasises the inherent colour values and texture of 16mm stock, so that the quality of the film itself draws out the hallucinatory, time-capsule-like qualities of the spaces we have filmed.