Photo by Alison Nguyen
Last year, film artist, Shona Masarin and I began creating a 16mm b&w experimental film that plays with abstract patterns, rhythms, and alchemical techniques to conjure a lost world. It begins with a vaudevillian preparing to perform for a nonexistent audience. We find ourselves in an old theater, shut down and eroding - vaudeville has been long forgotten - a relic of the past. A ghosted character conjures a series of vaudevillian line drawings. Summoning this lost history through a non-sequitur channeling of multiple characters and personalities, we imagine “lines” of history on a fragile emulsion.
Click here to find out more about our project!
Ghost line collaborators
- Film by Shona Masarin and Cori Olinghouse
- Ghost lines originally conceived by Cori Olinghouse
- Cinematography and Editing by Shona Masarin
- Choregraphy and Performance by Cori Olinghouse
- Guest appearance by Eva Schmidt
- Costume Design by Andy Jordan
- Sound Design by Jake Meginsky
Shona Masarin and I met this past fall while working on a film restoration project for Elaine Summers film of Trisha Brown’s 1971 Walking on the Wall shot at The Whitney. I have been working in the archives for the Trisha Brown Dance Company since 2009 and Shona as Elaine Summers film assistant. Cataloguing video since 2002 and not being able to touch, see or come in contact to the material inside the cassette jacket, I was amazed to experience a tactile and sensory connection to 8mm and 16mm film. The physical and ephemeral nature of film connects to my ongoing interest in vaudeville, silent clown, and eccentric dance – forms that are fading in our contemporary art culture today.
Shona brings a wide-range of techniques into play, including hand painting and tinting film, hand-processing, bleach experiments, frame-by-frame animation, collage and drawing, and contact printing on home-made emulsion. Her work is often the result of in-process discovery as she intuitively explores the possibilities of the medium. This process is related to that of the surrealists with their automatic poetry and exquisite corpses. Her exploration is largely tactile and haptic, oriented by touch.
With Shona, we began to see the possibility to forge a new visual language, re-imagining the aesthetics from Vaudeville and early Dada and Surrealist films through experimental film techniques and tactics. In the film, we wil move between materialist/formal abstractions and dreamlike narrative forms. We are not interested in following a linear narrative. Instead, we are interested in using the bits and pieces of a narrative as triggers to explore memory, history, dreams, myth, and the collective unconscious. In ghosting these languages that are seen as historical, archival, and antiquated, there is a possibility to forge a new seeing of the ephemeral.