Bruce McClure
Still of piece by Bruce McLure

Bruce turns projectors into instruments; he doesn’t project film, he misuses it. His bastardised 16mm projectors cut B&W loops into a thrumming 3D riot of perceptual phenomenon in colour, motion and sound. Maybe it’s noise music for the eyes, burnt on to your retina.

I really love this quote, so I’m going to include it here: Bruce, an architect by training, “crossed over into the realm of the proto-cinematic as a consequence of trying to represent the beat of a metronome in time with the ultimate goal of laying down a line equal to the circumference of the earth at the equator. By recording the tempo and duration of his markings on paper he could calculate the distance traveled and what remained to complete a circumnavigation of the planet.” His performances have been presented all over the world at many of the most venerable international galleries, festivals and events. He used to play chess with John Cage.

The multi-projector performances of filmmaker Bruce McClure open up a pretty heavy world of hallucinatory retinal pyrotechnics that I’ve not seen the like of before. Bruce employs multiple bastardised 16mm projectors, screwed about with, the motors modified, brass grids retro-fitted askance between lens and gate. These personalised instruments are used to transform loops of pure black and white frames into an immersive riot of perceptual phenomenon in colour, motion and sound.

As the piece starts you’re met with strobing, abstract forms, (maybe a circle cut to ribbons, or bright vectors of light throbbing alternately in a cross) pulsing on screen. They’re slowly transformed as additional, overlapping projectors create strange halos, odd 3D expansions and contractions. As more projectors are added the image is shredded under a beating grid, colour and form thrumming in front of your eyes until, as the last projector dims and you’re left in the dark, crazy blue (for me, maybe yours will be purple, who knows) tendrils follow your gaze, after-images burned on the retina like a delicate coda to Bruce’s performance.

Because it just an incredible experience, an intense sensory overload in light, noise and colour. And it’s so uncinematic in it’s intensity, it’s duration, its non-narrative development. Bruce’s extended, ever so slowly evolving performances focus attention, imagine sound and image together and create performances quite unlike anything else.

Bruce standing in a denim jacket, hands in pockets, squinting at the camera

BRUCE McCLURE, PHOTO:BRYONY MCINTYRE