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chapters:phx_x_is_for_xylonite [2019/03/13 15:25]
emma created
chapters:phx_x_is_for_xylonite [2019/05/17 18:52] (current)
frances
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 +__PHX [X is for Xylonite]__ [2019] 
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 +Single channel film, 12 min 44 sec, 16mm film transferred to digital and 3D animation, colour / black and white, stereo 
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 +__PHX [X is for Xylonite]__ is a new film animation commissioned as part of Bow Arts' heritage project 'Raw Materials: Plastics'​. It presents a series of orbiting three-dimensional images of natural and semi-synthetic plastic objects, made through laser scanning and photogrammetry techniques. These are collaged with hand-processed black and white 16mm film footage, which includes a demolition on the site of the original Parkesine factory in Hackney Wick, where the first plastic was invented. Both flickering, contingent materials allude to the history of cellulose nitrate - in particular, '​Xylonite'​ - in the development of photography and film as, until the mid-century shift to acetate, it was used as the base for film stock, and elsewhere to build props in film production. Extracts from Roland Barthes'​ essay '​Plastics'​ (in his book //​Mythologies//,​ 1957), colour experiments listed in a British Xylonite Company laboratory formula book (c.1888) and symptoms of plastics degradation,​ of '​crazing',​ '​yellowing'​ and '​bloom',​ are read by Dr. Miriam Wright, scientist and laboratory technician. The soundtrack proposes a warped love song between the organic and synthetic, where the human voice and recordings in shellac - the lacquer obtained from the secretion of the Coccus Lacca insect - are transformed through a vocoder. Although Barthes suggests that plastic "​embodies none of the genuine produce of the mineral world: foam, fibres, strata",​ in PHX, plastics are proposed as strata; so that the layers that make up the film - its emulsion and plastic substrate - are made evident; like the material seams of plastic that will, in future sedimentary rock layers, signal our Anthropocene era and its flawed capitalist productions.  
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 +16mm and edit: Frances Scott; Photogrammetry and 3D animation: Phil Coy; Composition and sound design: Chu-Li Shewring; Voice: Dr. Miriam Wright; Film processing with Bea Haut, Film in Process. 
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 +Thanks to: Bow Arts Trust: Sophie Hill, Saphia Venner, Natasha Vicars; Phil Coy; James Coore; Joyce Cronin; Film in Process: Bea Haut; Hackney Archives; Harold and Phil Mernick; Museum of Design in Plastics, Arts University, Bournemouth:​ Louise Dennis, Professor Susan Lambert, Katherine Pell; Plastics Historical Society library, Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining: Frances Perry; Science Museum, London: Susan Mossman, Helen Peavitt; Christine Scott; Chu-Li Shewring; Suffolk Archive; University College London: Dr. Katherine Curran, Dr. Miriam Wright (Institute of Sustainable Heritage); Romain Meunier, Necole Schmitz, George Walker (Institute of Making); Ellie Doney, Michael Duffy, Jo Volley (Slade School of Fine Art); Dr. Emma Richardson (Department of History of Art);  
 +Professor Tim Weyrich, Dr. Kathryn Piquet (Centre for Digital Humanities);​ Dr. Ruth Siddall and Jo Townshend; Vestry House Museum, London Borough of Waltham Forest: Ainsley Vinall; and Lillian Wilkie. 
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 +With generous support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and University College London.  
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 +Images: Production stills, April 2019  
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