Expanded Cinema Unowned Noise and liveness in the contemporary
Sally Golding, August 2016
For South Korean film artist, performer and curator Hangjun Lee, his involvement in both the experimental film and sound communities is often framed by an apparent interest in the aesthetics of noise as demonstrated through his collaborations with sound artists including Chulki Hong (Balloon and Needle), Jérôme Noetinger (also a member of French expanded film outfit Metamkine, along with Christophe Auger and Xavier Quérel), and Will Guthrie (improvising
musician and programmer of Cable Festival, Nantes). During a recent performance of Film Walk (2011) at Cafe OTO in London, Lee took a punk approach to the handling of optical sound, when he threaded only the sound head of a 16mm projector turned on its side with a length of film, which he then proceeded to tease through the protesting projector and to weave through the space of the seated audience and out the door and onto the footpath and down the street. Meanwhile, the audience sat inside, listening to the squeals of the slippage of film against the spinning optical sound head, and, surely—marvelling at the strength of the polyester
film which held sway against the semi-closed door. The friction of the film within this newly constructed super-projector—the room with its cabaret style tables and chairs and its essential orifices acting as enlarged projector mechanics—tensely focussed the audience’s awareness as to the possibilities of failure but also the extended abilities of the film strip. Meanwhile the upended projector presented itself to the audience, the bare throw of the projector bulb taking on the quality of sunlight in one’s eye as it pointed randomly towards the audience. Through his unfolding actions, Lee's work performs the material, while the material also performs him.