Karel Doing

Liquidator

35 mm and DCP
8 minutes
colour
2010

sounddesign: Michal Osowski

Screenings:

Filmmuseum Biënnale (Eye Filmmuseum)
Ex-is (Seoul)
IFFR (Rotterdam)
Nederlands Film Festival (Utrecht)
ISFF Hamburg (Hamburg)
In the Palace (Balchik)
Festival on Wheels (Ankara)
TIE (Milwaukee)
Nouveau Cinéma (Montréal)
OK Video (Jakarta)
IDFF Jihlava (Jihlava)
Signes de Nuit (Paris)
Aesthetica SFF (York)
London Archive Film Festival (London)
Cinémathèque Française (Paris)
European Short Film Festival (Boston)
Arsenal Kino (Berlin)
Latitude Festival (Sussex)
Insitut Lumière (Lyon)
Podium OCW (Rotterdam)
das Esszimmer (Bonn)
Echo Park Film Center (Los Angeles)
OFFoff Cinema (Gent)
Kino Bize (Riga)
Haags Filmhuis (Den Haag)
NEMO (Amsterdam)
Sub Urban (Rotterdam)
no.w.here (London)
Trispace Gallery (London)
Trouw (Amsterdam)
Deptford and New Cross Free Film Festival (London)
AVANT (Karlstad)

 

Karel Doing - Liquidator

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