trans videostill

AT 2003, col&bw, 10 min
music: Martin Siewert, distribution: sixpackfilm, Light Cone

At one time, in the early years of the cinema, this new medium was given a poetic name in German: electric shadows. Even a century later, the species of moving images more or less lives up to this name in spite of all its technological mutations. Michaela Grill and Martin Siewert´s trans is a good example of this: It is a work of shadows and silhouettes, a rediscovery of electronic cinema as abstract painting. The fleeting nature of the images is its underlying design: gray outlines against a white background; lines, grids and fields flit past, phantoms of reality caught in an intermediate zone of computer hard drives. Rather than fluently, trans proceeds in steps, in a series of single images. The movement does not take place within the images themselves, but between them. The music is an equal partner in this progression. The main intention of Martin Siewert´s ingenious soundtrack is not so much to accompany the visuals, but to enrich them, to expand upon and complement them, to provide a contrast: There are ominous creeks, crackles and rumbles, and at the conclusion the hint of a melody, a synthetic bass line, can be heard. The restraint with which the means were employed defines this work, the colors of which even seem to have been subjected to radical control: from the gray of the first part to the second´s subdued shades of green and blue. The dramatic function of the darkening of repeated footage, while the pulse of the editing seems to increase in intensity, is distantly reminiscent of the rhythms of Dietmar Brehm´s films. trans is a work of reciprocal merging and overlapping. Its main place of action is the space between two images, and its defining order is the neither-nor of two positions interlocking. (Stefan Grissemann)

With trans, Martin Siewert and I used the 5 act structure of classical drama to create an atmosphere of in-between-ness and levitation. I found these old photographs of a harbor that totally embodied this emotion (also the sadness and melancholy of parting and saying goodbye). So I used them as my starting images and worked through the layers of the images, scratched away the unnecessary until I reached the essence.(Michaela Grill)

Festivalplacements:
Diagonale- Festival of Austrian Films/A (Honorable Mention for Innovative Cinema), exground filmfest- Wiesbaden/GER, Stuttgarter Filmwinter- Stuttgart/GER, Festival International du Film de la Rochelle- Paris/F, Cinessone Film Festival Ris-Orangis/F, Circuit Court Marseille/F, Nova Cinéma Bruxelles/BEL, Avanto- Helsinki Media Art Festival/FIN, Norwich Animation Festival/UK, Sound Journey Tenerife/E, SonarCinema-
Barcelona/E, Trieste Film Festival- Triest/I, HUB Integrated Neapel/I, Monstra Internazionale Del Nuovo Cinema- Pesaro/I, Motovun Film Festival Zagreb/HR, Multimedia Split/HR, Karlovy Vary Int. Film Festival- Karlovy Vary/CZ, Chicago Underground Film Festival/USA, Video Mundi- Chicago/USA, Cinematexas-
Int.Short Film+Video+New Media Festival Austin/USA, Portland Documentary and eXperimental Film Festival/USA, Festival Int. de Cinema Independiente-Buenos Aires/ARG
Screenings:
Austrian Filmmuseum/A, e.x.p.m.e.d.i.a.-Peuerbach/A, Votivkino- Vienna/A, Topkino Vienna/A, Arena Vienna/A, Maths In Motion- Künstlerhaus Vienna/A, Austrian Filmgalerie- Krems/A, Lentos Art Museum Linz/A, Gallery Days Salzburg/A, Haus der Architektur Graz/A, Arsenal Kino Berlin/GER, Kino Acud- Berlin/GER, Kulturhaus Abraxas- Augsburg/GER, Kommunales Kino Freiburg/GER, Kino 46 Bremen/GER, Metropolis Kinemathek Hamburg/GER, Filmwerkstatt Düsseldorf/GER, Deutsches Historisches Museum Berlin/GER, Werkstattkino München/GER, Motorenhalle Dresden/GER, Cognitive Dissonant Enterprises- Rotterdam/NL, Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts- Paris/F, Transat Video-Caen/F, Filmoteca Espanola Madrid/E, IVAC La Filmoteca València/E, Centro Galego de Artes da Imaxe La Coruna/E, Filmoteca de Catalunya Barcelona/E, MM Center Zagreb/HR, A4 Bratislava/SK, Austrian Cultural Forum London/UK, Arthouse Austin- Texas/USA, Aurora Picture Show- Houston/USA, Zeitgeist Art Center- New Orleans/USA, Sala Rossa Montréal/CAN, Urban Shaman Gallery Winnipeg/CAN, Instituto Itau Cultural- Sao Paulo/BRA, Festival Int. de Cinema Independiente-Buenos Aires/ARG
Exhibitions:
Abstraction Now- Künstlerhaus Vienna/A, Dass die Körper sprechen, auch das wissen wir seit langem- Generali Foundation Vienna/A, See the Rhythm. Synaesthetical Concepts In Contemporary Austrian Video- KBB Kulturbüro Barcelona/E,
TV:
TVE Espana/Spain

Prize:
honorable mention for Innovative Cinema at Diagonale 2003 – Festival of Austrian Film

Review: A.L. Rees in Avant-garde Film

Also emblematic is Michaela Grill’s trans (2003), in which shadows, silhouettes, lines and fields flit by as static images. Stefan Grissemann comments on how such thaumatropic video exploits in a positive sense the static aspect of the digital frame (Abstraction Now 2004: 236):

[…] the movement does not take place within the images themselves, but between them […] a work of reciprocal merging and overlapping […] its main place of action is the space between two images, and its defining order is the neither-nor of two positions imagined as one.

see also Invariant