Jack Goldstein at the Nottingham Contemporary

On sunday I visited the Jack Goldstein exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary. I have become fascinated by 8mm and 16mm film and the exhibition was a fantastic example of the art that can be created by the medium. It was also a useful source of inspiration for my montage of 10 beautiful things and the short film module.

Goldstein’s films were all projected in one high ceilinged, darkened room and this created an amazing atmosphere to watch film. The characteristic hum of reel to reel projectors and the beams of light they were emitting were beautiful in themselves quite apart from the images produced. Here is the piece that particularly stood out for me. Bear in mind whilst you watch this that it was made nearly 35 years ago and also that you are watching it through YouTube and not from a 16mm projector.

I love the simplicity of this visually because it is clear that to produce such a piece is technically very complicated with the limited resources available compared to the extraordinary capabilities today’s video equipment has. I watched extremely closely the tape running through the projector and you will notice at the end there are some letters flashing very quickly across the screen, this is actually text written as a sentence straight onto the film itself, when played properly it is far more effective than the digitised version you can see here. It was great to see work like this by a pioneer of the genre. He was experimenting with techniques and adapting film so it did exactly what he wanted and when a gallery exposes the raw film to visitors and allows them so close it is totally inspiring.

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