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film as process

Doubts we meet in the process. Fellow-artists and turning points.

by Miki Ambrózy

Mechanical Butterfly

February 2016

When a project is ready to go out of the chrysalis, there comes a switch. I am not able to say what makes this switch happen - it's a clear sense of readiness, an urge to perform certain rites, accept the fragility of working on film, sense an obligation to have it finished and screened to fellow travellers, friends, strangers.

Up to this switch there are all sorts of other sensations, but they are not driving all of one's actions in one direction. Actually, in my case, there are a multitude of exciting directions towards which thought, action, hand, feet are going for a long time before this switch.

For Rites of Resistance, I ended up intensively re-editing and simplifying some fragments of poetry. Following an observation from a friend, Julian Hoffman, I saw for the first time the possible narrative across the haikus, compositions, minimalist word-flows and other experiments on syntax.

The narrative emerged invisibly, as if by intuition, without the fuss of creating a story. "Rien qu'une vie", as Beckett would suggest.

True enough, the simplest ideas for moving forward when I'm stuck can come from friends or strangers. Yet it is the timing that makes the difference: the sense that it's time somebody else heard or read, watched or reflected on one's work in progress.

Such timing is not predictable. What I know for sure is that it's about showing some of the work to some people of choice.

When I showed my rather fragile edits and a sort of pitch to Els Opsomer, an  acquaintance from the Sound Image Culture workspace, fellow-artist and neighbour, I knew I was in for some hard-earned, in-the-face feedback that is her trademark. Indeed, the poems needed a more sure hand, and my Rayogramms a more consistent technique.

Ultimately, she sensed a painful point of fragility in me. "You need to continue crafting this material for it to be achieved". These were the words I wanted to hear from that conversation. An unquestioning faith in the work, while giving valuable insight into how to go on.

Intuition is always "right". Hearing those words, soon enough, I felt a strong urge to finish the poem, to mould it into a final shape. A couple of weeks later I was refining my Rayogramm printing method, and a month later I found myself doing solarization tests on colour print stock in MTK Grenoble, under the watchful gaze of Etienne Caire.

Everything in its right place to go on.