Shotska Reel (2022)
digital video from 8mm, sound, 03'40'', open edition.
This is my first ever roll of 8mm shot in a £20 wind up Quartz from 1960s USSR, using long-expired Technopan film, also from the Soviet Union. No date on the packet but it must be 40+ years old! The can had to be opened with a stanley knife, and it was full of rust. I bucket-developed it myself in caffenol & hand scanned and edited all 2000 or so frames (!). The result is this: monochrome silver-blue layers of light, time and chemicals coming together - a near half-century in the making - forms emerging from the grain and sinking back into the darkness. I traced the chemical plant back - and this little dusty reel was made in Shotska in North Eastern Ukraine.
The music is by Rob Shields (@sunplussed) and uses fragments from an old collection of 48rpm records to build layers of time and emotion. I use these tracks a lot because I love them and this seems so appropriate for the footage.
In honour of the Ukrainian hands that made these chemicals and celluloid in the Shotska factory all those years ago, I am offering this as an open edition, pay what you can. All you have to do is send me a receipt for any amount to a charity helping in the Ukraine or any refugee organisation & your email address and I will forward you the download link and a certificate of authenticity. Or donate anonymously and enjoy the film here!