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chapters:phx_x_is_for_xylonite [2019/09/19 16:47]
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chapters:phx_x_is_for_xylonite [2020/01/15 21:18] (current)
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-__PHX [X is for Xylonite]__ [2019]+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+Single channel film, 12 min 54 sec, 16mm film transferred to digital and 3D animation, colour / black and white, stereo
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-__PHX [X is for Xylonite]__ 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 semi-synthetic 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. ​+~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  
----+In __PHX [X is for Xylonite]__,​ the first semi-synthetic plastics are considered through their relationship to the chemical and industrial development of photography and film, where cellulose nitrate was used as the base for film-stock until the mid-20th century and in props’ production. Against a collage of digital animation and hand-processed 16mm film, the soundtrack proposes a warped love song between the organic and synthetic, where human voices and recordings in shellac - lacquer obtained from the secretion of the Coccus Lacca insect - are transformed through a Vocoder. Scientist and laboratory technician, Dr. Miriam Wright, reads extracts from Roland Barthes'​ essay '​Plastics'​ (1957), colour experiments from a British Xylonite Company laboratory formula book (1888) and symptoms of plastics degradation;​ '​crazing',​ '​yellowing'​ and ‘bloom’. 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 its material seams that will, in future sedimentary rock layers, signal our Anthropocene era and its flawed capitalist productions.
  
-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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-Commissioned as part of Bow Arts heritage project 'Raw Materials: Plastics',​ with generous support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and University College London.+
  
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-Images: __PHX [X is for Xylonite]__ [2019], film stills+Images: __PHX [X is for Xylonite]__ [2019], film stills. __PHX [X is for Xylonite]__ was commissioned as part of Bow Arts heritage project 'Raw Materials: Plastics',​ with generous support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and University College London. Screenings: '​Projections',​ 57th New York Film Festival, Lincoln Center, New York [2019]; Edge of Frame / London International Animation Festival, Close-Up Film Centre, London [2019]; Institute of Making, UCL [2019]; and The Nunnery, London [2019]. ​
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