Another spooky little something from my one long night in the Summer of 2016, spent within the palatial environs of No. 351. I enjoy the cinema of this particular image; you can almost imagine the team of set-dressers coming in to ensure the peeling wallpaper is peeling ‘just right’. This is the stuff of movie posters, and the covers of those Fontana books of ghost stories from back-in-the-day. This is that big book of Unexplained Phenomena we had on our bookshelves when I was a kid, still playing out in my imagination.
I’ve got a number of scars on my forty-six year old body; the ubiquitous BCG crater on my arm, a hernia scar from when I was a tiny baby, a ‘hole’ between my eyebrows where I picked a chicken pox spot, and more recently acquired, a scattering of other facial scars following a particularly nasty attack of shingles back in the late winter of 2013. You might call these dents and puckerings my ‘souvenirs’ of the wear-and-tear of being alive.
One of my favourite scenes in Jaws (1975), is the sweet, funny moment when grizzled shark-hunter Quint compares war wounds with the more academic oceanographer and shark expert, Matt Hooper. The two men trade stories about the various different ways various different things have taken lumps out of their respective flesh, leaving them with anecdotes written into the surfaces of their bodies. Meanwhile, Chief Brody looks on, deciding against sharing his own battle scar, because, we suspect, his ‘souvenir ‘ is unlikely to impress. I know how Brody feels. With this in mind, I’ve imagined myself as being as colorful a character as Quint, and with just as many stories to tell about terrifying encounters and near-death experiences, and all of them leaving their mark on my body. These imaginary encounters derive from the spectacular dangers of my adolescent life, or rather from my formative confrontations with a host of larger-than-life fictional perils found in paperbacks and on VHS cassette tapes.
If you’re wondering if my commitment to producing original work for The Kick-About is so great, I was happy to maim myself in the name of art, prepare to be a bit disappointed. These scars are faked obviously, but not produced digitally, but in a much more old-school way: the application of latex adhesive to my skin with a washing-up sponge. That done, you can then fold and pinch your latex-stippled skin together to produce some realistic looking areas of damage. My knowledge of this technique is born from a love of old-school horror films and hours spent in front of a mirror, as a child, using whatever I could get my hands on to emulate various monsters of the silver screen.
And finally, a last few dribs and drabs from my fantasia on a theme of Marie Menken – and with a hint of Gatsby glamour!
So things took a monochromatic turn this time out – with some suitably atmospheric results! There’s a nicely weird combination of ultrasounds, spooks and radiowaves in the mix here, reminding me of the opening titles to British science-fiction series. Thanks again to Marie Menken and the Kick-About for the creative splurge!
Batch No.7! I told you I was having fun. More Kick-About #34 -derived in-camera experiments, using only a sheet of painted glass and whatever light sources were in arm’s reach.
Another glimpse into the other-worldly realm of house number 351, where I spent one long sleepless summer night in the gameful pursuit of spectral anomalies, finding this one poised perfectly in the old dark stairwell…
A number of associations attaching themselves to this set of Marie Menken-inspired photographs; Metropolis-like cityscapes and other Art Deco-esque impressions and the synaesthetic animations of Disney’s Fantasia.
A third set of photographs produced in this same way, with contrasting results, inspired by Marie Menken’s 1966 film, Lights. It’s likely there’s a discrepancy between a person’s interest in looking at these images and my fascination with having created them. All I can say about that is… sorry, there’s many more to come, and one day, when budget is of no issue, there’s a much more ambitious body of work to be produced this way.