Greg Pope: Light Trap
Still of piece by Greg Pope

In Light Trap film loops are abraded with sandpaper and scratched by gem polishing drills as they pass through projectors in each corner of the room. Out of a dark haze, shafts of lights are picked out, as the emulsion is scratched from the surface of the film. And simultaneously, out of the black silence, noise and audible scratches bloom into a bright drone. It’s not really an installation, or like a normal performance, it’s just an experience of real beauty.

Filmmaker and performer, Greg Pope was a founding member of Loophole Cinema, who along with Metamkine, Karel Doing and a few others really pushed forward the concept of film-as-performance in the 90’s, culminating in/ or starting with (depending on how you look at it) the International Symposium of Shadows in London in 1996: an event I wish I could have attended, and which seems to have been incredibly similar in its aims to KYTN.

Greg has created a performance especially for us, which closed the last edition of the KYTN festival in Dundee in 2007, titled Light Trap, and for 4 prepared projectors and musician. By replacing the guide rollers on 4 projectors with sandpaper and other abrasive materials, and working on them with hand tools, film loops are scratched and torn as they are dragged through the projector. As the performance starts, you’re encountered with a kind of black, empty, hazy space, maybe a low drone. But as these scratches build up, shafts of light are picked up in the haze, and pops, crackles and louder drones are simultaneously picked up on the optical sound track of the film. The performance inexorably builds from darkness to light, from silence to noise.

It’s a kind of homage to the great “solid light” films of Anthony McCall, in which you as a spectator are allowed to forget about the screen, and to think about film and projection in terms of light in space; a sculptural object. And because it’s so beyond normal cinematic experience: you walk through it, you’re part of it, there’s no one iconic image of it, or best angle to see it from, it’s an experience in which you can inhabit the expanded, invigorated building blocks of projection: light and space.

Greg standing in front of a wall looking at the camera


Sound file