Shadow Play
16mm looping film, webcam, Arduino, Mac Mini, LED light
December 3-7, 2018, Smith Warehouse, Duke University, Durham, NC

Optical sound has its roots in Alexander Graham Bell, who in 1880 first showed it was possible to transmit aural information through light. The technology found its way into cinemas during the 1920s via two competing systems: Fox’s Movietone and RCA’s Photophone. Both modified light from an exciter lamp and printed the recording onto a strip of film running at 24 frames per second, cementing cinema’s identity as a reproducible shared experience.

In Shadow Play, the relationship between light and sound restores some of the spontaneity that was inherent to early cinema and the magic lantern shows that preceded it. Challenging the projected image as sacred space, it invites the audience to interrupt and participate in the cinematic process.