Slide Projector

ImageYesterday I was in the theatre next door. I’m in Bournemouth at Pavilion Dance for a week.  Today I’m in the studio.

It takes a little time to make a personal connection with a space even if it’s a familiar one.

So, yesterday I went back to the hotel up the road and got the projector from the car and the big plastic lidl shopping bag of slide boxes. Opening the box It took me a while to figure out how to place the sliding slide viewer piece, eventually I managed. I turn it on with a lovely old light switch that’s pleasurable to use. The bulb is bright, the beam lighting a clear square on the back white wall of the theatre, bordered by the blacks that I’d pulled in to make a frame. I spent several hours looking at old black and white slides. Many of Exeter, of Topsham, of buildings, trees and skies, some of our family. It became a charged quiet space of concentration. Looking at still pictures, imagining them moving, thinking how to animate them potentially, how to work from the still pictures as a solid root. Repositioning myself occasionally to sit in the audience seats to see how visual it might be objectively.

The practical process of sliding one in then the other. It takes two at a time. The white aperture a sort of wipe clean after the image. As an artefact it’s an object that evokes past time, the 60’s, in the dark and lit it’s something else, it comes alive and is a warm presence, it’s steely metal frame and shape softened by the glow and the directness of it’s nose beam feels purposeful. I felt an atmosphere. The tree spread comforting, the quality of the black and white skies, the reflection of water, both past and present.

The memory of old cameras in their leather cases I’d found in the attic when I went looking for the projector. A camera amongst them that would have been the one taking the images. Attics. The dust, dirt, decay, the wonder, the holding of so much that’s stored in the memory that comes rushing back. I recognise that book, a torn cover, from my childhood, I recognise it instantly. instantly, whereas I did not recognise the same one looked at only very recently on amazon for my son. Why is this?

Attics. Full of what was. In the second attic, dropping an old plastic bad with blouses to retry. From when I was 12. I do try them on. In the bathroom. A strange reflection of someone who fits into the clothes, they fit but don’t fit at the same time. In a way it’s obvious but the process is still interesting. It’s indescribable.

On my mind. Pink Floyd. Dissolving the tree with the paper. Blurring the edges. A soft golden glow. I haven’t got the stick for my ribbons. I bought gold, pink and turquoise. A circle. Homage to a life. The male and the female. The sewing machine was my mother’s, the projector my father’s,  both in cases that lift over the head.

Time to make a dance before David comes tomorrow and I spill out to him while he sits and attends to the focus in a room, while I fumble and make efforts not to waste his time, where I search to find temporary methods to collect and organise thought and action in space to see how the impulses behave with each other.


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