Ola Ståhl & Cassandra Troyan (2008-2013)
FILM is an intermedial collaboration between Ola Ståhl and Cassandra Troyan, that explores intersections between fictional writing, archival material and film historical and theoretical discourse. Based on a common narrative material, they have produced parallel work, constantly referring to each other. Ståhl through a text based practice and Troyan in a series of video work.
The project dates back to 2008, when Ståhl started to work with a found manuscript containing unpublished memoirs written between 1881 and 1954. Using the manuscript as a starting point – its content as well as its stylistic peculiarities – they explore how particular forms of writing articulate subjective political experiences, related to questions such as belonging, migration and class.
KRETS will present two text volumes, containing experiments where Ståhl has deconstructed and reworked the biographical material. One part is composed by loops generated as the text has been swiftly translated back and forth between English and Swedish. Traces of many of the loops and repetitions have been kept in the text, as a form of amplification of the manuscript’s peculiar impoverished quality, rendering explicit its relationship to the historical, geo- and sociopolitical and cultural contexts from which it derives. The second part consists of all nouns from the manuscript, presented parallel with references to the history of film technology, as well as fragments taken from medical literature reflecting on the cessation of the body’s functions and the memory. Flickering over the pages, these words appear as simple images that create a rhythm reminiscent of Sergei Eisenstein’s ideas about filmic language.
In both format and reading experience, there is a clear link to early cinematic development, analogous to the narrative account of the text. In Troyan’s video work – moving from relative abstraction to visual collages with direct references to archival material, the original manuscript and Ståhl’s rewritings – this connection is further emphasized. Elements from the video work have also been picked up as references in the text volumes. Through this looping process, an extended form of writing is explored, which oscillates between different media and simultaneously reflects on the impact of technology on our perception – and thereby on the autobiographical narrative as such.
Anna Granqvist, KRETS, 2013
In collaboration with KRETS FILM was also published as a book which can be downloaded as a pdf here. Material from the book has also been published in Journal of Radical Shimming in 2009 (download here) and OEI in 2011 (download here).
The project has also been presented as a performative reading at the Bureau for Open Culture, Columbus, USA, in 2009 and, in collaboration with the artist in residence project Ptarmigan, at Oksasenkatu 11 in Helsinki, Finland, in 2011. A short extract from the reading is available here:
In collaboration with Jesse Boardman Kauppila FILM was also presented as a series of letterpress prints – slightly different from one another – and artists’ books at Headlands Centre for the Arts in San Francisco, USA, in 2010.