buffalo lifts

buffalo lifts
3 mins, colour, 16mm handprocessed film, silent, june 2004

a herd of buffalo desperately try to hold on as they cross the film frame.

A yellow and black and green daydream of the buffalo herd as it travels across a stretch of broken emulsion. The image of the buffalos was produced by boiling the original pictures and resettling them onto a new length of film (a process called “emulsion lifting,” hence the title). But the migrations of the herd have not managed quite as easily as their filmic counterparts, forced to move from long established grazing patterns, they have been hunted into virtual extinction across North America. This is a rumination on the fragility of these powerful masses in flight. And would it be too much to remark, in the midst of so much loping towards extinction, that this could be a metaphor for chemical-based movies? Is this the last graze of an analog touch, the pictures moved by hand, driven, corralled and penned into a digital corner? Allow one last flourish before these flickering shards will be part of someone else’s nostalgia. A memorial dirge, a travel without destination, a funerary rite. [Mike Hoolboom, 2007]