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chapters:phx_x_is_for_xylonite [2020/01/15 21:15]
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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]__ ​presents a series of orbiting three-dimensional images of natural and semi-synthetic plastic objectsmade 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 asuntil the mid-century shift to acetate, it was used as the base for film stockand 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.
  
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