Remarks: New Commission for Threshold
In his first solo show in the UK, Igor Krenz creates new work for Threshold artspace’s permanent collection. Here, he talks about the commission ‘Circles and Squares’ and his YouTube Mix.
"The ‘outside-of-conventional-gallery’ context at Threshold in Perth determined my choice of works. Multiple screens in a public space usually have utilitarian, informative function and my primary idea was to compliment this site-specificity. But, I thought of doing that in quite a perverse way, by making visible a ‘secret language’, an informative system of mysterious cue marks used in traditional film screenings and by taking it out of its natural environment and moving it to the open public arena at Threshold artspace.
A 35 mm film print produced for the cinema projection is divided into several reels. Each reel includes up to 20 minutes of footage. In the old-style cinemas (the ‘art-house cinema’ still exist in Poland), the film is projected from two projectors. At the right moment the reels need to be switched. The cue marks on the tape are necessary for this purpose. This is the secret grammar shared by the projectionists I’m referring to.
Using found material is a travel in time for me, but it is more a travel in the sea of time, out of time. Found film footage is a kind of huge database of culture. It is more a niche than nostalgia trip for me. It signifies my curiosity in this phenomenon. Depends on the project as to where I find the original material. For this commission, I took pleasure in searching for circles, squares and other cue marks on film prints made by film production companies, or the rarest and most precious, those scraped out with screwdriver by film projectionists themselves. While transferring to VHS or DVD those cue marks are sometimes left intact. I’ve seen all the films from my local video rental shop regardless of content and quality and incorporated snippets from more than 200 films in this new multi-media video installation. It was an impressive experience itself.
When I was commissioned to compile my YouTube Mix as part of the exhibition, I was driven by the artspace relationship to the concert hall. My choice of John Cage’s works was rather as a result of being impressed by a difference in approach to his personality. Here he is on a popular TV chat show in 1960 where he wasn’t taken seriously, and then 40 years later the attitude has changed completely into honor and respect in a formal performance by the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
I am concerned with the ‘magic’ of film as celluloid, as material. I am pursuing the physicality of film, in the same way as the structuralists of the 1970s. However, it becomes realised in digital form, on video or as computer files, so it is sort of ‘neo- structuralism’, a play between two media.
I have used the term ‘logical mind game’ to describe particular experiments/video performances I have been working on from late 1980s. They consist of self-provoked logical mistakes, where opposite forces mutually deconstruct each other. But, there is also a similarity in ‘Circles and Squares’, where the operative, primary function of the cue marks is replaced by the pure abstract visual forms showing just how strongly the conventions and illusion can shape ideas."
Igor Krenz’s ‘Circles and Squares’, 2009 commission can be viewed as part of the Horsecross collection of contemporary art at Threshold artspace. His YouTube Mix, 2009, can be viewed at the dedicated Threshold YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/Thresholdartspace.
The Scottish Tides-Polish Spring series at Threshold continues in May/June with the launching of another new commission, ‘Domestic Modernism’ by Julita Wojcik