Shoreline #2

1979

First shown at B2 Gallery in 1979, London then at the Tate Millbank in 1981.

colour, 16mm, silent, six-screen installation

Shore Line #2 is the second in Welsby’s series of installations about the sea.

The image is of a beach filmed with the camera pointing vertically downwards at the surface of wet sand and pebbles. Foaming waves rush across the frame from left to right, then recede back the way they came, dragging at the pebbles and churning the sand into new patterns. The lack of synchronisation between the projectors creates a seemingly infinite variation of movement and surfaces. Waves rush at dazzling speeds across the surface of the gallery wall sometimes this headlong rush is from left to right and sometimes the other way around, Sometimes the white glistening patches of foam are halted by the edge of an adjacent frame only to immerge again in another frame in an unstoppable dance of light and colour. The pebbles glisten as they roll back and forth like characters in some cosmic animation.

The work is sensuous and strangely like drawing in the way shape and form are mapped on the surface of the wall. The viewer is drawn to become part of the projection: to watch the film loops as they snake through the hot dusty projectors; to cast shadows from the projector lamps upon this virtual sandy beach: to touch the wall on which the images are projected and let the waves wash over them; to laugh in disbelief at the contradiction between the sense of touch and sight; and to imagine, if they can, the sound of the ocean in the roar of the projectors.

As in Shore Line, each of the six projectors carries an identical fifteen-foot loop of colour film, each projector is placed on its side in order to make use of the portrait format, and no attempt is made to synchronize the loops.

“The significance of [structural] landscape films arises from the fact that they assert the illusionism of cinema through the sensuality of landscape imagery, and simultaneously assert the material nature of the representational process which sustains the illusionism. It is the interdependence of those assertions which makes the films remarkable – the ‘shape’ and ‘content’ interact as a systematic whole.”

Dusinberre, Deke. “St. George in the Forest: The English Avant-Garde,” Afterimage (London: Afterimage Publishing, Summer 1976) p. 11.

Technical Requirements
colour, 16mm, silent, six-screen installation

Six portable 16mm Eiki ST – mo film projectors. Six loop carriers. Six plinths measuring 2ftx2ftx4ft made from particle board (MDF or similar) and painted white.

Space Requirements
A room measuring L60ftxW30ftx15H is optimum. Total black out
Some sonic isolation is desirable due to projector noise.

Installation Notes
The plinths are painted white to emphasize the presence of the projectors in the gallery space.

The sound of the projectors is the “sound track” for the work and it is therefore unnecessary to try and eliminate or buffer it.

I would prefer to have the film loops visible rather than hide them by using loop carriers. The loops are only 15 ft long and run very well through plastic curtain rings suspended from the ceiling. This refers to the viewer to the material base of the medium and increases the “sculptural” presence of the projection.

Projection Notes
The loops get worn and scratched and need to be changed on a regular daily basis. With a little practice this takes about 20 minutes. There are a few frames of black spacing between each loop to identify the beginning and end of the loop. This black spacing must be removed when the individual loops are spliced together.

You will use your master to print multiple exhibition prints. You will need to order one print for each day of the exhibition. Each set of six loops is printed on 100ft of film. Repeat prints are relatively inexpensive if ordered in large multiples.

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