FOO1994 Christina Mackie (1956 − )
Grainy still images of a small interior domestic space such as a flat or apartment flash up onto the screen at the beginning of Christina Mackie's Foo (1995), appearing almost like badly reproduced postcards from a messy, urban life. After a slow count-in from a relaxed and confident male voice, a voiceover begins, a soft and casual form of beat-boxing, or a vocal run-through of a percussion score. The words approximate phrases such as 'tin, tin, dina geh geh, keckenacke gegenake, taka dinna din', and so on, creating a rhythm with a musical voice that speeds up and slows down. The pace at which a range of these visual stills appear on the screen is mirrored in the meter and tempo of the words and sounds.
The film brings to mind films such as Charles and Ray Eames's House After Five Years of Living (1955) in which sequences of still images of an interior are used to create a portrait of both a domestic space and its inhabitants. However, while the Eames's film evokes calm order, and loving attention to detail, Mackie's film is altogether more disordered. The rhythm of the beat is as irregular as the images that they accompany. Computers are pictured on desks covered in papers and open books, more piles of books and paper are strewn around the floor, worn out rugs and there are shots of a tatty wooden chair that appears to have holes chipped out of it. The interior very possibly belongs to an artist: among the objects strewn around are lightboxes featuring antiquated imagery, tangles of cables, speakers and a record collection which spills in piles in a corner and even what appears to be a mini trampoline. There's no particular rhyme or reason to the arrangement of the objects in the space, other than that together they allow the viewer to imagine the inhabitant. Colours invade occasionally, bleached out images earn a lack of saturation and resolution, but also a hint of pale yellow blue or pink. The screen turns to blue at certain points, some areas are solarised, and the pixilation is heavier and more distorting at certain points.
Occasionally, the voice-over artist or musician appears to make a mistake, although it is difficult for the viewer to tell. He apologises and begins again. <&ldquo>One more take of that I think…..I'm perfectionist<&rdquo>”, he says at one point. At another he explains that he has to keep the flow going, to keep on repeating the sequence without stopping, because it works better for him that way <&ndash>-&ndash> analogies, both, for other forms of artistic endeavour - keeping on going, tripping through the mess. The images become more and more corrupted, pixelated and washed out as the film comes to an end, so that, ultimately, it is difficult to be sure whether one is looking at photographs of interiors or nostalgic drawings or paintings of them. The modern messiness begins to look like 17th Century Dutch still life paintings, or depictions of peasant life from that period. A kitchen basin gleams dully in thin weak light, and as the work ends, the images seem consigned to history.
- Accession Number P7621
- Dimensions 10.03'
- Media VIDEO
A transparent, flexible plastic material, usually of cellulose acetate or polyester, on which light-sensitive emulsion is coated, or on which an image can be formed by various transfer processes.
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