Falling Awake, again
Programmed by Attilia Fattori Franchini
Leslie Thornton & Jeff Preiss
HD video, colour, sound
Courtesy of the artists
How to film a beautiful monster – a five story machine, a particle detector at CERN that has no moving parts and processes data beyond our imagination. Jeff Preiss tried to depict it by using a hand-wound 16mm Bolex film camera, whilst using his vision and body to obsessively scan its contours; Leslie Thornton embraced its stillness through observation, mindful that you can’t really see the entirety of the machine, and you certainly don’t understand it. Still, it is the brilliance of the camera in Backing Forward that gives you something to take away. What is there is rare, and precious—each frame filled by grain that dances across the surface, and holds an image, a trace of the machine captured by another device. Typical of Thornton’s work, sound entraps the frame. After a while, you are caught, recognizing that it is repetition and scale that is marked as another form of presence, drafting an encounter with the technical sublime.