I am a Camera (4 stars)

Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow, until Fri 17 Jul

I am a Camera


Brace your retinas, this show demands endurance. A sequenced screening presents eight films by artists Len Lye, John Latham, Steina & Woody Vasulka, Craig Mulholland, Katy Dove and Kate Davies. Focal encoding and processing take place as the retina functions much like film in a camera, slowly pulling you into a trance. To be precise: a vivid cross-legged mind-altering, image-induced hallucinogenic trip.

The sequence is important to truly feel the effect. It kicks off with Kate Davies’ film. Etching lines onto the inner surface of your eye, the film is interspersed by an uncomfortable chanting. Just as you’re about to get up and leave, Len Lye’s 1950 ‘Free Radicals’ strikes your lenses, and initiates a cascade of chemical and electrical happenings that cause your consciousness to pulsate. Then Craig Mulholland feeds candy floss directly to your brain. In the same vein, films of pleasing trippiness follow. Historic treats sit alongside contemporary works. John Latham’s 1962 animated abstraction flashes an archetypal battle terrain. The Vasulkas’ home-made 1973 psychedelia exemplifies their pioneering of video art and founding of The Kitchen in New York.

As you step out into the brightness, the optics of the eye adjust slowly and throw the embedded images back onto an overwhelming sunlit silver screen. Don’t miss the resource section with books, a documentary of the GPO’s experimental filmmaking in the 1930s, and animations. A lucid experience not to be missed.

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