Hmm, not sure what I think of this. We already have many many cool apps doing this better, but I admit I like (love?) that not everything HAS to be on the fucking phone. I think it changes how you look at things, and Im very happy to have been born into a time where I actually went out, with a Super8 camera/16mm camera and and LOOKED for shots, which I don’t think you do if you are just carrying your phone around. ESPECIALLY if you film you make goes STRAIGHT to a social media platform and isn’t really even saved anywhere. Which reminds me, I want to go and get all the videos I have EVER saved to facebook and download them and make them into a film… might be a project?
The aim of this project is two-fold. To first restore and then complete a set of films that was started during the late 1980s.
“The Great Work” is an alchemical trilogy in three parts. 1. “Homunculus” 2. “Terpsichore” and 3. “The Box”. The first two parts were completed but silent. The third part, “The Box”, was started, but was never completed. This film requires the most work and support.
In addition Strawberry Wasp is a 20 minute 16mm film shot in Cinemascope with “separate magnetic” soundtrack, it is complete, but un-showable in its current format.
During the last few years of the 1980s, I was working mostly in film. These were very low budget 16mm productions, but with rich and complex iconography, often utilising animation, costumes, and simple camera effects. The works were shown to some degree as part of “performance pieces” with the soundtracks often performed live by musicians, creating music and sound effects. The films are strong visually and often dark and quite obscure. Although not narrative in the normal sense of the word they are strong on themes and live in a kind of dark and existential alchemical world of folklore and fairytales.
My application here is to upgrade the films, digitising them to 4k digital cinema quality, thus preserving them, and in the case of the silent films, adding music and foley soundtracks with a view to seeking a new audience, both online and projected at festivals and screen viewings. In addition I wish to complete the 3rd part (The Box) of “The Great Work” of which only a tiny portion was originally completed.
My primary aim for distribution would be initially indie cinema showings and festivals. “Strawberry Wasp” and “The Great Work” could be either shown together, as they have some artistic connections, or as two separate films. Showings would be in Nesoddparken and other cultural venues in Akershus, but I would also be interested in participating in for example Cinematekets “Dream that Kicks” experimental show-case, Grimstad, Tromsø and at foreign festivals, Rotterdam (IFFR) , EMAF (Germany), London Short Film Festival. Thereafter a permanent website would be produced that would give additional background information, photos, original scripts, sketches as well as the films themselves.
The Great Work
This is a trilogy of 3 mixed media films
“The Great Work” refers to the work of the alchemists, who attempted to make the Philosopher´s Stone, turn base metals into gold, and investigate all manner of esoteric interests, albeit in a scientific and applied manner. The films “story” is not completely clear, as the three films, although obviously related (some characters, some locations) they concern different things, and could even be said to play in the wrong order.
In part one “Homunculus” an alchemist (that we referred to as Sir Eel) receives a wooden box, he eagerly opens it to find a phial containing a tiny foetus. This he places into a strange machine, which after some magical effects produces a small and breathing child.
Part two “Terpsichore” (of dancing) is simply a chase. A princess runs through environments, perpetually pursued by two freemasons in full regalia, the “princess”(after a small animated dream sequence´), is eventually caught and torn in two.
Part three, ”The Box” (the yet to be completed film) concerns a box. “The Box” depicts beginnings and endings of the other two films, as well as a final scene. It could be seen as a re-working of the story of “Pandoras Box”. It shows the alchemist (this time animated using stop frame animation) at work, unaware that his creation (the Homunculus from the first film) escapes, it shows the Princess, still being chased, from a castle through woods and into a bowery. Also present are malevolent masonic rituals. The Evil that is finally released from the box into the world is shown to be the face of the film-maker.
Only the first two films were ever completed. Firstly they should be transferred to digital format, and as these two parts were silent, new soundtracks will be composed for them.
In addition I would like to complete the final part of this work.
“The Box” was started, indeed I have about 150 feet of 16mm film. Where the other two parts are a combination of live action and animation, this part will be wholly animated. The Box of the title is an artwork in its own right as it has drawers, each of which contains a tiny scene, which, after emerging from the Box, build themselves before the action in that scene can start. The characters needed for this film are unfortunately lost, so will have to be re built, using clay, wood and cloth.
Photos from the filming of “the great work” circa 1988
This completed 20 minute 16mm film needs only to be transferred to digital (the visual portion) the audio needs to be extracted from a UMatic lowband tape (the only known surviving copy, apart from a poor quality VHS) The audio will then need to be re-synched, and the video graded.
This film was my degree piece at Portsmouth University Fine Art, gaining me a first place in practice. It was shot using a Cinemascope anamorphic lens giving a striking physical proportion of 2.66:1. Its somewhat melodramatic subject is no less than good and evil, and is a sequence of six scenes, one introductory scene, four “character” scenes, comprising one character in each (Thief, Witch, Priest, Princess), and a short outro sequence. The music is loud, distorted and monotonous, with one musical theme per section.
I showed this film many times during the late 80s and early nineties, but mostly at art events and concerts. I could never submit it for festivals due to its format, both being Cinemascope and it having a “Separate Magnetic” (Sep-Mag) soundtrack. It was, however in great demand at one stage and I was projecting it, at various locations, about once a month for a while.
Working methods and style
Visually, I think my work has an interesting feel to it, in some ways it feels hand-made, naive and charming, at the same time, dark and eerie. I have, often out of necessity, built strange devices and rigs to achieve shots that would normally only be possible using expensive equipment, I have hand-developed 16mm film in an old Russian Army developing tank, build a DIY film printer, punched holes in the film, filmed on Standard 8 film gauge and used it in a 16mm film (without getting cut) I have hung cameras from kites, swung them on rubber inner tubes and shot scenes backwards. Due to the physical handling of these earlier films, I expect them to be scratched, faded and aged, almost coming from some strange and distant past. I am, however, always concerned with good picture quality, strong visual imagery, strong audio, and filmic pace.
There is an element of the “gothic”, as in the films of The Brothers Quay or Derek Jarman, of “pop culture”, as I was and am a professional musician in experimental circles with my band The Cranes, and this forms part of my worldview, as well as a folklore or occult element, particularly as “The Great Work” features an Alchemist, two malevolent Freemasons, and an innocent Princess.
I decided to divide off my computer games and film stuff off onto new site, Ill continue to update om misc things blog style here, but I needed a less messy container for my more serious experiments into computer games and VR. Im hoping sometime to get some funding for this art, and infact to get some of my old films onto digital format for re-showing them, so they are included on the new site as well.
The site is called www.ordoabchao.no
Thanks to Nick Wheeler for this photo, showing Me and James Dolan In the early days of Ordo ab Khao, here in the studio holding props. The big model of Sir Eel, and me holding the machine of life, from My film “Homonculus”
Today there was no water in Sognsvann, well not much so we walked to the island. Here a film, put to the most unlikely of music, some bleepy electronica I did on my modular… maybe it works, dunno, I haven’t watched it.. just slapped it together in FCP rendered and uploaded…
Just found this on my hard-drive. By Zbigniew Rybczyński, its totally wonderful. made by painting thousands of hand made film mattes, no computers here… I wonder if I get a please remove this film message? Its seems to be rather difficult to find online.
This film, although a bit boring in truth, seriously influenced me as a young experimental film-maker. The fact that a very complex idea could be carried out, by hand, from start to finish, by one man, was very appealing. It encouraged me to do the same. I could never have completed something as vast as this, but I did spend some time producing film “by hand” That is to say, I shot black and white negative film, developed it by hand in an old Russian dev tank (I still have it) then constructed my own printer out of an old Bolex, where I cut a slot for the negative to enter, shone a light in the lens , and developed the resulting film. THEN applying hand made dyes to it… I did many hours of experiments of this, nothing survives. apart from a tiny bit at the end of Mise en Scene. The Cranes online documentary I made.
About the film Tango. This is snagged from the directors own pages here, I will take it down if he complains.
“Thirty-six characters from different stages of life – representations of different times – interact in one room, moving in loops, observed by a static camera. I had to draw and paint about 16.000 cell-mattes, and make several hundred thousand exposures on an optical printer. It took a full seven months, sixteen hours per day, to make the piece. The miracle is that the negative got through the process with only minor damage, and I made less than one hundred mathematical mistakes out of several hundred thousand possibilities. In the final result, there are plenty of flaws ® black lines are visible around humans, jitters caused by the instability of film material resulting from film perforation and elasticity of celluloid, changes of colour caused by the fluctuation in colour temperature of the projector bulb and, inevitably, dirt, grain and scratches.”
– Zbig Rybczynski –Looking to the Future – Imagining the Truth,” in FranÐois Penz, Maureen Thomas, Cinema& Architecture. Mþliús, Mallet-Stevens, Multimedia, BFI, London, 1997
“In Tango, Rybczynski exploits this concept of the single offscreen space by filling it with a plethora of actions. It soon becomes obvious that such a small space, that of a small room, could not possibly contain all the actions taking place. Rybczynski also makes critical use of off-screen space, exposing it for the artifice it is. Off-screen space is the imaginary area beyond the edge of the screen, and in front of or behind the camera. There are a number of ways through to off-screen space in Tango – a window and a door in the back wall, doors on either side of the room, and cupboard which also has its uses. Rybczynski orchestrates his entrances and exits with great precision.”
– Roger Noake, Animation Techniques, Secaucus, Chartwell Books Inc., 1988.
Five of my films are being shown in a very small film show in a Paris Cafe tommorrow.
Heres the blurb…
Projections : le rêve Heure
mardi 7 juin · 20:00 – 23:30
3, rue Muller métro château rouge
Paris, France Créé par :
Zackarielle Art Total, Faustine Lucette Andrée Ferrer, Faustine Ferrer Continue reading →
Had an amazing night in Spykkeskjærnhytte, it was MINUS 28 and I had to wake every hour to put logs on the fire… luckily the iPhone didnt run out of batteries, and the alarm worked, or we would all be dead by now.. or at least cryogenically frozen.