Responding to a call for proposals issued by NEPN and the Festival in March, BlackLab were selected from an extremely competitive field of over 100 applications. All proposals responded to the Festival’s theme for this year, Pictures in Motion, which explores the relationship between the still image and the moving image, with applications coming from artists working across both photography and film.
From BlackLab’s proposal ‘It is possible to imagine a future in which the idea of the photographer is redundant; an age in which the ubiquity of images leads to the end of the photographic author as we know it. BlackLab’s film will excavate the nostalgic idea of the photographer as recorded in stills, literature, moving images, documentaries and archive footage. Sifting through this material, the result will be a montage composed of visual and auditory quotations from famous and obscure sources; a meditation on the end of the individual auteur in a society of mass observation.’
BlackLab’s previous films include Trawling the Visual Wreckage, a film that channel hops through cinematic and found video footage exploring the themes of love and destruction told through a montage of works by Michelangelo Antonini, Werner Herzog, Frederico Fellini and others. Their second film, Cosmodrome, places Yuri Gagarin’s first flight into space in the context of the Soviet Union’s rise from agricultural state to technological superpower. Inspired by the work of Tarkovsky, the film juxtaposes works by the Soviet Space Agency, legendary Soviet film-makers such as Vertov and Eisenstein, as well as historical television footage.
BlackLab is a collaboration between David Oates and Mishka Henner. Their works are characterised by an interplay of soundtracks, speeches, and scenes from various found sources. Their technique scours literary, film, and documentary sources from online and offline archives. An initial process of gathering materials leads to an editing process in which this material is cut up, juxtaposed and re-imagined to produce a new composition. Their first film, Trawling the Visual Wreckage, recently featured at the 2012 Dallas Biennial and they have curated events at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, England.
Thank you to everyone who applied for this opportunity.