Visiting Card Film

Direction, modelling, camera: Ben Anderson
Format Stop-frame animation
16 mm, B/W
Length: 8:55 mins

Visiting Card Production

The filming of the environments: a slow, repetitive, detailed and laborious work was spread over a period of four weeks. Turning the model stage wheel centimetre by centimetre and adjusting the lighting, camera focus, figures and inserting and removing the modelled environments to fulfil my Gesamtkunstwerk for Der Ring des Nibelungen. The camera speed was set at twelve frames per second resulting in each frame being shot twice that when sped through the projector at twenty-four frames per second, created a sinuous light flickering image. The filming equipment including a Bolex H16mm camera, special microlenses and filters; reflective aluminium sheets, light meter and tripod were lent to me from the Hochschule for Deutsche Film and Fernsehen (German Academy for Film and Television) Berlin.

Stop-frame photography creates a particular movement in counterpoise to the ‘fluid’ movement of the film. The film’s movement was split into two directions and is linked to two theories in the recording of time and the construction of history. One direction follows progressive time as denoted in the forward movement of the clock that allows for an ordered and continuous build-up of the environments coming into frame. The second movement is formulated to metaphorically counteract time, that is, “eine sammelnde rucklanfige Bewegung” (a collection of backward movements) in portraying the destruction of the environments as past, present and future. This recollection of time informing the present is an allegorical attempt to associate with Arthur Schopenhauer’s early influence on Wagner through, as previously cited, his Buddhist philosophy. These two forms of movement are intended to capitalize on the idea that the work ventures into derived senses of ‘becoming’, as the previous pictorial event informs the next.

These two-time movements in the film are also intended to directly link to the musical drama’s theme and narrative: the creation and the destruction of the world as continuous and cyclic. The beginning/ending/beginning is visualized in the set of columns returning as the remnants denoted through their physical scarring. Dionysian in concept, the film attempts to create a world without change continuously engaged in the cycle of annihilation and creation. The film’s modelled world of events taken from Wagner’s musical drama and Berlin and Dresden’s urban environments including Libeskind’s Jewish Museum and the Frauenkirche draw on an aesthetic towards a reformation of memory.