Frameshape of Hard Mettles-
A Personal Problem
Projection Performance by Bruce McClure
Presented by White Light Cinema


photo by Robin Martin

April 24th, 2009

Bruce McClure will beat us down with light and sound and we will like it.

White Light Cinema is extremely pleased to present Brooklyn-based experimental filmmaker Bruce McClure in his first Chicago appearance in over four years. McClure will be performing two brand-new live projection performances (in advance of his April 26 performance as the opener for the band Throbbing Gristle at Logan Square Auditorium). McClure is a moving-image magician, who forges stunning and immersive light and sound works from a motley assortment of specially-modified 16mm projectors, film loops, transformers, and guitar effects pedals.

These live works (McClure manipulates the projectors, light, and sound in much the same way an improvisatory musician does his instrument) create a pulsing, flickering environment filled with a minimal percussive beat. Over the last several years McClure’s work has become as much about the sound as they are the “image” (there are tentative plans to release a recording of “soundtracks”).

“Producing a totally sensory experience, McClure’s projector performances are informed by the way the brain reacts to light and sound. Using an array of modified 16mm projectors, film loops, and guitar pedals, his work challenges cinematic conventions. Film loops patterned with patches of emulsion on a translucent base are combined with an optical soundtrack to create a physically intense adventure. His performances have amazed audiences at the Whitney Biennial and the Rotterdam Film Festival, and have garnered him the 2008 Alpert Award in the Arts.” (Walker Art Center)

“Incandescent Machine Age – At the circus, in the safety of our seats, we watch the elephant coaxed into intemperate feats. As the lights come up we realize that we never left the velveteen plush of the movie house. Products of the 19th century, incandescent light and its offspring, the movie projector, were given a voice in the 1920’s by optical sound. These revolutionary technologies may be languishing at the edge of extinction but will be celebrated and preserved as echoes and afterimages of the machine age resonating in the vitality of 21st century consciousness.

This Living Hand – The movie camera engraves light traces on silver lockets. I prefer the giving company of a movie projector that can paradoxically transubstantiate still births reviving them in the minds of the living. My “Projection Performances” are a call to witness the discreet and yet simultaneous actions of shuttered lamplight through the body of film and the glissando of light along the register of optical sound shading its substrate. I am fortunate to share the reciprocity of this fascinating machine and our senses. With everyone on this side of the picture plane, however, there is a real possibility of losing control. The room, the projector, the projectionist, the screen, an audience of nerve fibers and all cinematic presuppositions are brought to bear on the moment. Danger is indispensable to my projection performances. This living hand – see, here it is – I hold it toward you.

Timekiller To His Spacemaker – Three modified 16 mm. projectors fitted with folliums and loops, bipacked or otherwise, will hurl bombolts shaped by hand and guitar effects windowed by loudspeakers. Vouchsafe me more soundpicture! It gives me furiously to think. This brilling waveleaplights! They arise from a clear springwell in the near of our park which makes the daft to hear all blend. This place of endearment! Only in darkness is your shadow clear. Monster magnet, “I can see by the hole in your head that you want to be friends you’re the right one baby. Dopes to infinity. Muttaliter foretold within wheels and stucks between spokes . . . now measure your length. Now estimate my capacity. Is this space our couple of hours too dimensional for you, temporizer? Will you give up?” (Bruce McClure)

That Bright Soasuch to Slip (2009, 30 mins.)
Barra di Torsione (2009, 30 mins.)

Bruce McClure is a licensed architect living in Brooklyn, NY. In 1994 he began working with stroboscopic discs as an entry to cinematic pursuits. Since 1995 his film and live projector performances have been exhibited at numerous venues and festivals around the world, including the Rotterdam International Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, the New York Film Festival’s “Views of the Avant-Garde,” the Whitney Biennial, the Walker Art Center, the Wexner Center for the Arts, as well as in the UK, Italy, Australia, and elsewhere. Locally, he has performed at Chicago Filmmakers and at the Film Studies Center at the University of Chicago.

More on Bruce McClure here:

Cinemascope: Reading Between the Lines with Bruce McClure by Andrea Picard

The Brooklyn Rail: Bruce McClure with Brian Frye

Filed under: film, performance