The project Liquidator started with a research
question; where lies the ultimate border of film preservation, and how
does it look? In other words I was looking for a filmprint that was on
the brink of complete deterioration.
My friends at the Dutch film archive (EYE) came up with a newly discovered
print of Haarlem; a commercial 'city branding' film made in 1922 by Dutch
film pioneer Willy Mullens. This particular print was interesting to me
for two reasons: The deterioration of the nitrate had caused stunning
visual effects and the original utilitarian nature of the footage was
in stark contrast with the drama of this deterioration.
I isolated the sequences where transitions took place between well preserved
images and, partly or completely, vanished images. I reworked this footage
zooming in, slowing down and reframing these sequence. The most dramatic
moments I reworked using optical flow and morphing techniques. With the
resulting material I composed a new film with the same duration as the
original. I then asked composer, software developer and distortion specialist
Michal Osowski to make a soundtrack for the film using a direct link between
image and sound.
Although Liquidator started from pure fascination with the deterioration
of film material, it is no coincidence that this film appears in a time
of liquidations, radioactive water and Wikileaks.
Winner of FOCAL
award: best footage in a short production 2012