Directions of Encounter

By Kenneth White

Directions of Encounter
(2007) explores our methods of making narrative and spatial sense of visual information.  Super 8 motion picture film frames are enlarged from their original dimensions of 4.01 millimeters by 5.46 millimeters to approximately 36 inches by 49 inches and printed digitally to DURAclear, a transparent plastic.  The prints (six total) are suspended from the ceiling in a curling row approximately 42 inches from the floor and 36 inches from each other allowing viewers to walk between and around the prints.  Projectors at either end of the row emit video of the original segments of Super 8 film from which the enlarged frames are printed.  The video materializes on the first DURAclear print and also passes through it, illuminating and projecting each still image on to those following it.  Resolution is diminished with each doubling of still and projection until met by illumination from the opposite direction.

Two sequences provide three frames each for the six prints: a long shot of a fisherman reaching to the ground at the shore of Hermit Island, Phippsburg, Maine; the second is a series of extreme close-ups of ocean water surface at Hermit Island.  Presenting the distance of the figure and the immediacy of the water surface together in the same experience compresses the basic foundation of narrative cinematic language: the establishing shot and point-of-view shot.  A viewer may see both perspectives in one reading of the prints and projections.  With their full body, a viewer may at any point walk through the narrative event of the fisherman standing, reaching to the ground, standing again, and his supposed sight of the ocean surface.  The projectors at either end of the series present the sequences in movement.  The looped moving images are projected, duplicated, and expanded onto their still selves, the walls, and the audience.


This text originally appeared in Super 8 Today 12 (Winter 2008). Directions of Encounter was first installed in the group show PFVAC + SPACE: New Projections and Installations by the Portland Film + Video Artists Collective at SPACE Gallery in Portland, Maine, from September 5-28, 2007. The Portland Film + Video Artists Collective is committed to the advancement of film and video as personal, experimental art forms in Greater Portland. Celebration and preservation of creative freedom is paramount in all actions. Directions of Encounter was realized through the immense generosity and support of Portland Color. This project was funded in part by a Good Idea Grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.


Kenneth White is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and programmer. He is a founding member of the Portland Film + Video Artists Collective in Portland, Maine. White received his BFA from Syracuse University in 2005. In fall 2008, White begins doctoral studies in art history at Stanford University.


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