Liquidator

EYE Film Institute Netherlands   |   Netherlands

'The project Liquidator started with a research question; where lies the ultimate border of film preservation, and how does it look? In other words I was looking for a filmprint that was on the brink of complete deterioration. My friends at the Dutch film archive (EYE) came up with a recently discovered print of Haarlem; a commercial 'city branding' film made in 1922 by Dutch film pioneer Willy Mullens. This particular print of Haarlem was interesting for me for two reasons: the deterioration of the nitrate had caused stunning visual effects and the original utilitarian nature of the footage was in stark contrast with the drama of this deterioration. I isolated the sequences where transitions took place between well preserved images and, partly or completely, vanished images. I reworked this footage zooming in, slowing down and reframing these sequence. The most dramatic moments I reworked using optical flow and morphing techniques. With the resulting material I composed a new film with the same duration as the original. I then asked composer, software developer and distortion specialist Michal Osowski to make a soundtrack for the film using a direct link between image and sound. Although Liquidator started from pure fascination with the deterioration of film material, it is no coincidence that this film appears in a time of liquidations, radioactive water and Wikileaks.' Karel Doing Rotterdam, November 8, 2011