Tacita Dean: Kodak


See film here: http://www.ubuweb.com/film/dean_kodak.html

Kodak  2006
Single screen projection, 16mm colour film with audio track
duration: 44min

Tacita Dean and digital:

Having worked with film as her principal medium since the early 1990s, Dean feels passionately about the end of analogue film production as for her, the digital technology which is supplanting it:

just does not have the means to create poetry; it neither breathes nor wobbles, but tidies up our society, correcting it and then leaves no trace … It is too far from drawing, where photography and film have their roots: the imprint of light on emulsion, the alchemy of circumstance, marks upon their support … what we are losing is a vast immensity of treasure and yet we are choosing not to replace it properly.

(Quoted in Tacita Dean: Analogue, exhibition catalogue, Schaulager Basel 2006, p.8.)

As is usual with Dean’s films, Kodak was produced in an edition of four, of which Tate’s copy is the first. It is exhibited projected onto a screen sunk into the wall so that it is flush with the wall’s surface in a purpose-built space. The projector is concealed behind false walls.

Further reading:
Tacita Dean: Film works, exhibition catalogue, Miami Art Central, 2007.
‘Kultureflash Interview: Artworker of the Week: Tacita Dean’, http://www.kultureflash.net/archive/171/priview.html, accessed 11 September 2009.

Elizabeth Manchester
September 2009

Extract from interview: http://www.kultureflash.net/archive/171/priview.html

Melissa Gronlund: Can you start by telling me about your new film, Kodak? You mentioned that the impetus came from the fact that the Kodak films were no longer being produced?

Tacita Dean: Yes. I was trying to get hold of black and white film for my 16mm camera, which is an old-fashioned camera — that is, not up to the date of Super 16 — which means it has perforation or sprockets on both sides as opposed to on one side, which Super 16 has. It’s a double-sprocketed camera, basically a standard 16mm camera, and when I tried to get black-and-white film I was told that Kodak had stopped producing it.

MG: Are they still producing the single side 16mm film?

TD: Yes.

MG: What’s the advantage of the double side?

TD: It’s not to do with advantage; it’s to do with different formats. All standard 16mm has sprockets on both sides. When they developed super 16mm, they used one of the sprocket sides to make more room in the frame and so create a bigger projected image. All normal projectors are standard 16; Super 16 is generally for television. They don’t make it any more, black-and-white film, and actually colour is fairly doomed too. So I found five rolls in New York and I decided on a whim to think about using it to film the Kodak factory in Chalon sur Saone, at this point not knowing that they had just decided to stop all film production there. The idea of the film was to use its obsolete stock on itself. The point is that it’s a medium that’s just about to be exhausted. In a way I didn’t understand when I started the Kodak experience just what I would get. I just had a fantasy that I would take these five rolls of black and white film and just make a small film.

MG: About their own birth…

TD: And decline in a way. Birth and death. And then when I started making enquiries I found that Kodak had actually stopped all film production in Europe and Australia. In fact the only production remains in America…


From this review: http://www.briansholis.com/exhibition-review-tacita-dean/

Dean only allows her films to be presented publicly in their original formats, and, just as the available reserve of her preferred film stock is now disappearing, so too will her films finally disintegrate, despite attempts at preservation. Dean’s ideally attentive audience members are likely to be haunted by this finality.

Noir et Blanc, a 16mm black-and-white film also presented at the Guggenheim, literalizes this sense of reaching an endpoint: The four-and-a-half-minute, fully abstract variation on Kodak’s theme was created using the few remaining rolls of double-sprocketed black-and-white film the artist could source. There are now apparently none left in the world. This prompts the question: Where does Dean go from here?

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