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Remarks: Lucy Skaer

Using the site of an abandoned cinema for display, the artist outlines her forthcoming project in Leeds

Lucy Skaer, Abandoned film strip found inside derelict cinema, Leeds, 2010. Photo: William Rose

Lucy Skaer, Abandoned film strip found inside derelict cinema, Leeds, 2010. Photo: William Rose

"I’m currently developing a project in Leeds with the working title, ‘Film for an abandoned projector’. It’s a one-off presentation of a film made specifically for an abandoned projector in a disused cinema in the city. The film will be a single 35mm played on the projector until the film is worn away. This is a commission by Pavillion, an organisation based in Leeds which explores the problem of the image, and presents new work in a critical context.
 

In my research, I read that Leeds was the primary producer of cinema projection equipment in the mid 1900s. We recently found an amazing derelict cinema in the Armley area of the city, with two of these locally-made projectors in situ. I’m interested in how this local history foregrounds the mechanical machine as a producer of the illusory space of cinema.
 

After this cinema closed, it was used as a light bulb factory, and today, the space is a church. The building has been variously repurposed and the projection room is currently walled up. We will cut through two walls in order to release the projection beam in to the cinema auditorium.
 

My recent work is preoccupied with the relationship between sculpture and film, and this project seeks to explore this interest on an architectural level. It is, perhaps, also a form of anti-display. I’m interested in using the commercial format of 35mm to play in a marginal and largely unwitnessed space. Reanimating the projectors and screening the work will be a reenactment of the original function of the building.
 

‘Film for an abandoned projector’ will reverse many of the traits that the cinematic medium usually has; this film is specific to its place and seeks to exist as the imagined subconscious of the projector itself. I want to shoot a film which looks at mineral specimens as a starting point, as I consider them objects that occur without witness or intent, and yet exist in a highly specific form. My film will appear as an automatic production, a simulation of an event. The images will appear less like a dream than as a residue. This project will launch this autumn and run for 6 months."

www.pavilion.org.uk