Karel Doing

Dark Matter

HD Video and DCP
19:44 minutes
colour and B&W

sounddesign: Charly van Rest
guitar: Florian Maier
drums: Friso van Wijck


Jihlava IDFF (Jihlava)
Alchemy (Hawick)
ISFF Oberhausen (Oberhausen)
Leiden ISF Experience (Leiden)
EYE Film Institute (Amsterdam)
Signes de Nuit (Lisboa/Saarbrücken)
Arkipel (Jakarta)
Antimatter (Victoria)
Fotofestival Schiedam (Schiedam)
Erasmushuis (Jakarta)
Close Up Film Centre (London)
Kino Bize (Riga)

Temps D'Images Festival (Cluj)
AVANT (Karlstad


Karel Doing - Dark Matter

The film Dark Matter is based on a personal archive of family portraits and landscape photographs that have been used to trace the obscure biography of the filmmaker's father.

With the second world war as a backdrop the film follows his trail through industrial structures, moody forests, and surreal half desert. In addition, the film material itself tells a compelling story in detailed and complex abstract images. A variety of chemical, bio-chemical and mechanical techniques were used for the creation of these animated ‘direct’ intrusions on photochemical emulsion.

Taking a selection of my father's vast archive of landscape photographs as a starting point, I embarked on an investigation of the possibilities for creating 'landscapes' directly on motion picture film material.

Using yeast, salt, leaves and seaweed as reactive elements I managed to find a new way for creating images on analogue film. The yeast grew; feeding on the gelatin, the caustic power of the salt left marks in the emulsion, the acidity of the leaves attacked the film even stronger, and chlorophyl in the seaweed was absorbed; creating unexpected colours.

Additionally I experimented with organic developers and a range of chemical toning techniques and more destructive techniques such as scraping, applying acid and temporary burial of photographic material.

I used the resulting collection of images to create an experiential cinematic piece, simultaneously being a portrait of my father, an account of the largely unknown part of his life before I was born, and a moving visual painting.