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This is a journal I keep to record all things I do within the realm of filmmaking.

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Sunday, March 4, 2007

Lynn Marie Kirby, by Jared Caldwell

Lynn Kirby, an avant-garde filmmaker, uses a wide array of film technology and philosophy when making her films. Kirby's films range in content from the feminine to the spiritual, political, and social. Kirby also uses a diverse toolset for creating her works. She originally began her work in film, but quickly switched to the video format when “editing for video” systems were developed. Later known for her work with digital video in the 90's, much of her work has been shown in a number of different forms, including the triptych. Kirby's body of work as a whole is diverse, with different messages and meanings conveyed in different settings and using different techniques of capture and editing.

When we were screening the “Time Dilations” series, the images she captures are not as pixel perfect as what can be achieved on newer consumer digital camcorder; rather, the images tend to become blurred and amalgamated together when there is a lot of motion, creating this “rare balance between austerity and playfulness” that Michael Sicinski of Cinema Scope mentions in his article “Incremental Framebusting: The Paragon Example of Lynn Marie Kirby”. When editing her work, Lynn relies on the manual controls of her digital editing deck to control the speed and direction of the film, as well as the sparadic crashes of her ancient editing computer to create some of her cuts. Lynn works within the limitations of her tools in order to create a “'way of looking at time and space both simultaneously and pulled apart'”.

A later work captured in a similar vein to “Time Dilations” is Kirby's “Twilight's Last Gleaming”. This latter work, which was originally presented on three separate screens in a triptych, uses Kirby's method of fast-forwarding and rewinding, computer “crash cuts”, as well as digital still frames created out of the colors of other images. What separates “Twilight's Last Gleaming” from her other digital video works is Kirby's use of music to shape the visual aesthetics of the film. The music Kirby chooses, not surprisingly, is the Jimmy Hendrix version of the film title. Kirby say that she “wants you to see the music of Jimmy Hendrix”. The images that collide across the triptych have a rhythm and a pulse that drive the work forward.

In Kirby's “Latent Light Excavations” series, Kirby uses film in unconventional ways. Instead of a camera, Kirby exposes the film on or near certain locations. An example of this film exposure technique is used in her film Golden Gate Bridge Exposure: Poised for Parabolas. Kirby chose to film the Golden Gate Bridge because of the number of people who have committed suicide by jumping off the bridge. These films attempt to capture what she calls “vibrations” from the surrounding area. The areas she chooses typically have a “social” or a “socio-spiritual” aspect to them. In essence, Kirby is trying to capture the “spirit” of these locations within these “Latent Light Excavations”.

Unafraid of venturing off in new directions with new and unconventional technology, Lynn Kirby presents new experiences within the constraints she places on her work (i.e. “crash” editing). The exploration of the temporal, the spiritual, and the social can be found throughout her work through her use of editing and capturing, whether that be through exposing canisters of film, using older editing systems, or using different mediums. Kirby plays these different forms of expression to her liking in such a way as to capture objects and events that could be everyday, and present them in new ways that add meaning.

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