It’s process time! Hand developing the super 8mm film that has come back from the families for my @aceagrams funded project ‘ARTICLE 16’. I’m going to go through the steps of hand developing Super 8mm film in more depth, in case anyone is interested, but here’s a wee overview. Blindfold practicing loading my LOMO 8mm film developing tank! When I was a clapper loader (person who puts film in the big movie cameras and says scene 1, take 1, *snap*!) on film sets my boss use to send me to @procamtake2 warehouse to practice loading all the cameras that we might use and I would wear my shirt up over my eyes (to my boss’s dismay) to stop sneaking a peek when the mechanism got complicated as I had to be able to do it in complete darkness so as not to expose the film. For my 8mm process I had my lil make shift ‘darkroom’ (didn’t need to be dark as film was tucked up safely in the LOMO tank, which I loaded in the toilet with the lights off lol) @aspacearts Arch 04 by my studio @archesstudiossouthampton. Warmed up my chemicals in a water bath with a monitor heater. Mixed the E6 chemicals (as I chose to shoot colour reversal film) and worked out my timings and made sure I had them all plastered right in my view so not to miss a timing! The film is very sensitive to temperature and timings. And my nose is sensitive to the chemicals! I then used a laundry rack to dry the film, put it on a spool which was a nightmare! And it worked!! I couldn’t believe it! First time developing with these chemicals, and worked first time. It was slightly disconcerting as the image comes out as the film drys, so I left my studio thinking it hadn’t worked, and came back to find a lovely tonal image had come out, of Dad of participating family Benn Benjamin @iamnowbenn and his wee toddler Silver. Can’t wait for ARTICLE 16 to open soon!
And they’re back! Cameras and spent Super 8mm film are starting to arrive at the door from participating families. Looking forward to processing the film and seeing what treasures are inside. My older sisters spoke about when our Dad use to receive back a processed roll of Super 8mm film back after a holiday, and what an exciting moment it was. They made real ceremony of setting up the projector, the sheet as a screen and being nominated ‘the light girl’ to turn off the lights. They described the ritual as “releasing the butterfly”. I’m loving the little notes that are coming back written on the rolls of film from the families – “pretty sure this ones ok”, we had a bit of trouble with cartridges jamming unfortunately.
MEET THE ARTICLE 16 TEAM! Asten Holmes-Elliott is an artist and filmmaker whose work examines ideas of identity, otherness and belonging. They have been hoping to create ARTICLE 16 for a number of years, after revisiting their late father’s collection of 8mm home movies. Asten’s Dad was an artist and sculptor/stone mason, and named Asten after the ancient river crossed by the Normans in the Battle of Hastings, near the abbey he was restoring. He was 10 yrs old in WW2, and used the same standard 8mm camera to film his first family with Asten’s half siblings, and then their family, spanning the gap of generations. @aceagrams funded project ARTICLE 16 allows Asten to follow in his footsteps, where shooting LGBTQI+ families and home developing 8mm film will build a closeness to their Dad, whilst creating a speculative place in history for their own LGBTQI+ community where they can belong.
Eleanor Jones is a lecturer at the University of Southampton. She is particularly interested in queer theory and disability studies, especially the ways that queerness and disability relate to ideas about the ‘family’, and histories of race and empire. Dr Jones is cultural consultant on the project, helping us to contextualise the work and keeping us queer!
Fred is an artist living in Southampton whose interests lie in exploring personal relationships as a fat, ill, queer person. For this project they are handling social media and logistics whilst also exploring beliefs and ideals around family in their own practice.