Chances are, you are reading this on a screen. Perhaps it’s late, along with your telephone or computer’s colour-temperature program has kicked in, giving the display a orangey-yellow tint. Or you’re staring this down to a webpage through glasses or contact lenses of a fashion. Perhaps you’ve had corrective eye surgery, or you’re relying upon the unaltered lenses you’ve already got in your eyeballs. Your LED daytime bulbs, even imperceptibly dimmed, cast a cold light on the page. The purpose is that there’s no way for this text to reach you right. There’s no unfiltered access. This isn’t a secret, but it’s something we are pretty handy at ignoring, while it’s reading or viewing a movie, or, state, interacting with other hu mans. We are pretending that we are piercing through life’s layers, perceiving things correctly, accu rately, really. Sara Cwynar’s brief RedFilm (2018) does not let us ignore this: it’s all filter. Over 13 minutes,two narrators barrage us with the approximate tangle of thoughts on beauty, visibility and experiencing’the new’. They speak over snip pets of imagery from various stages of product development in the attractiveness and advertising industries: cosmetics factories; some photography studio teeming with sneakers, perfume bottles and jewellery boxes; a set of women having makeup applied, posing or dancing; a printing press. What’s infused with intense greens, blues and,yes, reds. “A human being, a flower, a speech, all possess the task of wearing colour,” a single narrator says We reside bound up in the facades and confusions of the shallow sensory universe; however, Cwynar’s movie seems to ask, how exactly is it possible for us to really accept that task? Or it is all of these things. It begins off coherently enough:”I am discussing American routines,” a male voice maintains at the start. “And French painters” a female voice quickly adds. A set of four dancers, dressed in red
Outfits,fingernails painted a brilliant He goes :”I amtalkingabout the new woman, and a pattern which was imperceptible to the topics if they lived it” But while the film quicldy reels on, it ends up that’s the closest we’ll get to a justification. We’re left awash in lush vision and verbose, momentary disagreements thatareoffered up simply to be hauled off by another, sometimes quickly they float:”My mobile body creates a difference in the observable world”. “Nostalgia conveys a distinctly utopian face” A parade of products and bodies flashes by, including a rotating jar with’Red Roses’written in gold on it, stuffed with some viscous, vermilion liquid; a pink bra shoe; a red convertible; a woman with blush applied repeatedly to her cheek. Sometimes, Cwynar herself will probably appear, red-faced and seemingly hanging upside down, then loosely li p-synchingto the voiceover. “There’s nothing that you could have done differently,” she mimes seriously. “You’re discovering yourself”
There is a warm,faded tinge toall thefootage,shot as it is on16mm celluloid and moved to digital video.The haze increases the famili arity of how it sweeps you over, with the glamorous nonsense of a makeup ad, and the sweeping breeziness of a car ad, and via this stream ofhyperconsciousness we may have the ability to pluck outsome awareness of that which we’re actually being sold. Perhaps you’d be interested in a pair of moisturisers and mascara that bear the title Cezanne, or a turquoise shade of eyeliner, or even an idea that starts to unravel a number of the basic premises of marketing and photography. “Remember that scanners and digital cameras suffer from exceptionally satu rated reds,” we are told at one stage. “I’m telling you these reds aren’t real.” The realisation of the accumulates as the movie progresses, since you watch Cwynar pose, deadpan, alongside acar,slowly caressing its headrests and door handles. Seeing rolls of printouts of paintings being folded over one another, then a few framed paintings being wheeled out for photographing,ahand holding outalight meter in frontof them,only drives it home further. We view most things indirectly, through repro ductions, reprints and renditions.Atonepoint,awoman’s hand churns across Rubens’s Massacre of the Innocents (1612),its own shadow caressing the painting. It’s not that these versions aren’t real-we are experiencing something; it’s just that all we’re seeing is just another approxima tion, and that theshadow’s caress is as near as we can ever get.
Red Film consists made of a part of Cwynar’s additional movie and photographic works: meticulously staged, so dripping with analogue nostalgia, over flowing with ephemera that resembles it was buried in the rear part of your grandma’s dresser for many years. What seem like disposition boards for photoshoots turn into functions independently, as well as also the trappings and staging of these photoshoots become another means of framing, say,adiscussion of a colour fashion inRose Gold(2017), or,aswithRedFilm, totry and think about how we makesense of anything at a world of seem ances and hyperrealities. Cwynar manages to combine a preinternet demeanour using the overloaded sense of social-media browsing, with snippets of imagery and opin ions flying around you; some stick, some simply whizz by. The accent on elderly mediathe faded photos, the 1970s ribbon of these titles, the celluloid colour grading- also looks like a way to indicate a dull space, toask us torecognise we,also,aresituated ina special period that will, notlongfrom today,appear equally obsolete. “Yes,” the female narrator admits,”I am looking for a shortcut via the complexity and terms of historicity of my own age; nonetheless, there is some nostalgia here. I am just looking for my Very Best self”
Red Film throws us right into a sea of tchotchkes and stuff, awash with competing ideas, veering between, on the one hand, an idealistic expectation for a democracy of selection and abundance, and, on the flip side, a more cynical wariness of drowning in the deluge. Throughout the late,Italian-born Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi invented a screen system for her open-plan layouts to the Sao Paulo Museum of Art: cement blocks, with glass panes which could hold drawings and paintings to face the viewer, with information on the trunk. The notion was to force viewers to look first, but additionally enable most other items suspended from the area to be observable at exactly the same point, to democratise history. Cwynar’s incessant pans over layers of envelopes and photos, conveyor belts of trinket boxes and toiletry bottles, maintain exactly the identical levelling impulse: we each collect our own museum, a concise art history of its own, inside our own shelves and drawers. But the relentless commercialism of all Cwynar’s subjects additionally suggests a stasis, becoming stuck in all that only In 2001Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas composed a gnomic text coining the notion of’junkspace’, describing the type of ad hocn1allification of landscape that was taking more, the unthought out actuality that fills most the built environment,’exactly what coagulates while modernization is in progress, its fallout’. The two Bo Bardi’s pan-temporal vision and Koolhaas’s facile grief feel rele vant here, not only as outdated ideas that still manage to have a tug and resonance for them, but also in describing bodily areas to be navigated, a difficulty that the movie constantly presents: among such a jumbled accumulation, how can we each make our own way?
On the exterior, Red Film seems to give a touchy-feely solution to the in the tactile joys of the human body. “The body remains centre, a constant step,” we are advised, because the dancers gather around among their number, eliminating her red overcoat.Our final message before the film ends is just,”The human body averts itsel#So does the society” Though, in spite of this insistence, the thing that looks most fleshy, many physiological and real in this picture, is that the makeup: thick glops being squirted into ribbons about the conveyor belt, a more delicate,leathery hide churning out of a machine, a tonguelike glisteningslugofsome merchandise sitting on a roller. The last thing is obviously a splodge of thick crimson liquid, running slowly down a menu, such as blood. This gloopy mass of dark redburning into our retinas and still ungraspablethis, the movie suggests, is that our actual body, an artifice made up of shadow play, that imaginary red stuff pulsing uncontrolled through our eyes and veins. A body, constructed out of superficiality, which runs to the octane fumes of their pressure of influence, for whom sporting color is the sole task. ar