Peter Lisignoli

One Frame at a Time: Reimagining Archive as Process, Collaboration as Performance2013
HD video, installation, photography
The Carrack Modern Art



History breaks down into images, not into stories.
– Walter Benjamin

In a search for a new poetics of cinema, my thesis will reconsider expressivity as it is inscribed onto ephemeral materials. Despite the best efforts by archivists, elements weather and histories re-interpret media into new forms. Through a radical appropriation of pre-existing images, my thesis shifts the ontology of filmic events from what is, or has been, toward the fictional, hypothetical, and subjunctive. My thesis includes both a short film exploring the history of the South-Western United States and a music/moving-image collaboration that imagines the second coming of the microbial and entomological age

The moving image segment of my thesis will depict an impossible version of my family’s past. The visuals involve family video, photo slideshows, tourism footage, and written text. The assembled past wavers between personal memory and popular history, all of which is in the service of constructing a proximity to the mythological.

In collaboration with composer Vladimir Smirnov, our live performance will involve a musician, projector, and computer. The video footage contains images of human intervention in nature, insect infestation, and microbial life. The human/computer performance is one where the musician plays a score, which gradually becomes generated by the computer.