Found Footage Short Film Trilogy, 4:3 (Screen. F.: DCP/2K File, Orig. F.: HD Video & 16mm Film), Stereo/5.1/7.1, 22 Min. | Film (Director, Concept, Camera, Machine, Editing, Sound Recording, Production): Lydia Nsiah | Sound Compositions (inner, outer, in between): Pisitakun, Jejuno, Billy Roisz | Color Grading: Lichun Tseng | Audio Mastering Stereo, 3D Sound Mix and Mastering: Enyang Urbiks | supported by BMKOES & Stadt Wien Kultur | distributed by sixpackfilm & Lydia Nsiah, 2023
Images above: frame grabs of techno by Lydia Nsiah, 2023
There are moments in Lydia Nsiah’s sci-fi film trilogy techno when you stare into an ever more raging spinning tunnel. Depths beyond imagination. And you suddenly think of Octavia E. Butler’s novel Kindred and the life-threatening time travel of its protagonist. “We are not made to last,” influential science fiction author Butler once said. Decades ago she had already foreseen that sooner or later we as a species would destroy ourselves. In Nsiah’s film, this tumbling into a vortex that we have been long unable to pull ourselves out of is powerfully and disturbingly translated into visual and – through the sound compositions of Pisitakun, Jejuno, and Billy Roisz – tonal turbulences. The viewer’s eye is unrelentingly overwhelmed by the spiral rotations that repeatedly recur in her films, produced with a specially designed apparatus. At times the urgency of the increasing roar of this tunnel techno, sprinting along with the extremely rapid rotations of the images, is so unbearable that one almost longs for the cathartic implosion.
At minute 6 of the 22-minute film, this cathartic implosion occurs for the first time: the screen goes black for a few seconds; the sound winds down. Then life slowly starts up again.
“With techno I interweave my work on the in-between, the abysses and gaps in the audiovisual production of knowledge, with my love for science fiction,” writes Lydia Nsiah. In the end, the artist is always concerned with nothing less than the past, present-day society, and the question of the future.
Or, to put it in the words of Octavia E. Butler:
Know the past.
Let it touch you.
(Text: Julia Grosse)
In the short film trilogy techno I assemble and spiralize historic and contemporary Science Fiction Films with an emphasis on African, Asian, Indian, Indigenous and South American film productions. Working with their imagery of the fears and chances of technology I edit the found moving images into the artistic and cinematographic sequences inner, outer and in between. In the beginning of each film piece the imagined future of the technological is countered with a short intro, showing 16mm-film recordings by me of present nature. Due to a multi-part film recording process the two media video and 16mm-film interfere. The digital, the analogue, artefacts, (film) layers and translations culminate. The sound compositions by the artists Pisitakun, Jejuno and Billy Roisz respond to the sequences, the Sci-Fi Found Footage and the spiraling camera movement. With these dialogues between film and sound three short films are created, conversing with each other in the form of a trilogy and spiraling the technological in filmic, bodily and immersive ways.
In the multi-layered shooting process the edited short Sci-Fi Found Footage films are first projected and recorded with my camera tracking machine virtual spiral, which I also used for my most recent film work vs (2021). While recording I operate the speed and acceleration of the spiraling camera movements myself. I create a different body rhythm for each film piece and let them transition into each another. The first recording process is done in one take with a tiny HD camera, mounted on the camera tracking machine. In the second step the then spiraling Found Footage is projected and filmed with a static, motorized Bolex 16mm-film camera – loaded with outdated/non-reliable film stock, highlighting the duration of time on the film body as such.
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