Performing the Screening: On the Disappearance of the Projectionist
One can observe currently the disappearance of the projectionist. It is a discreet event, but real. What does it mean exactly? For a long time, the medium of cinema has been considered a performative art. The projectionist had to handle the projector, prepare the rolls, perform the screening, test the different machines, and be present behind the window of the projection booth as a shadow. Now the digital projection does not need a human presence. The projectionist with his expertise and his memory can disappear.
Is this situation really new? Since the beginning of film, the work of the projectionist was found between performativity and automatic functioning. How to think of the current situation? Is the projectionist a vanishing mediator, or a translator? Does an installation need a projectionist? Is the user the new projectionist?
This lecture proposes a historical and theoretical survey of the art of the projectionist, past and future, with examples from classical and modern cinema, experimental tradition, and contemporary art.
Érik Bullot is a filmmaker and theorist. Author of numerous films between artist’s film and experimental cinema, he has recently published Le Film et son double. Boniment, ventriloquie, performativité (Geneva, MAMCO, 2017) and Du film performatif (it: éditions, 2018). His work has been screened nationally and internationally, including the Jeu de Paume (Paris), the Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), La Enana Marrón (Madrid), the Biennial of Moving Images (Genève), CCCB (Barcelona), the New Museum (New York), and the Museum of Modern Art (Buenos Aires). He was visiting professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo (2009-2011), at the CIA (Centro de Investigaciones Artísticas, Buenos Aires, 2013) and at the Faculty of Media and Communications (Belgrade, 2018). He currently he teaches film at the École nationale supérieure d'art de Bourges (France).
Image: Hellzapoppin'. Directed by H. C. Potter, 1941.
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