Le cinéma et son programme

Douglas Edric Stanley


Film: Cube

I have basically been researching two distinct areas during my residency at the Villa Arson : virtual machines and algorithmic cinema. In this workshop we explored various possibilities for “elastic cinema”, and I showed the participants my experiments in stretching Wile E. Coyote films to make adaptable time lengths and variable gags.

We decided to work off these experiments, only in an installation context. We also wanted to choose a film that would create a sense of confinement, and through our manipulations would provoke a negative impulse away from interactivity, a desire to do anything but interact with it. Interactivity would be a disrupting force for cinema and narrative.

After some debate we finally decided on using Vincenzo Natali’s film Cube. Originally, I proposed using Jaques Becker’s Le trou, but everyone else wanted something more “contemporary”. Oh, today’s youth…

After digitizing the film, we built a simple system using a reed switch mounted on a door and connected to a small I/O interface. The switch was strategically placed on the door leading into the projection of the film Cube. The program, too, was archi-simple : every time the switch was opened, the film would rewind back to frame 1. If no one opens the door, of course the film advances, until… eventually… someone has to leave. Thus opening the switch, and back to frame 1…