Every contact leaves a trace

1 October 2017

Glasgow Film Theatre

Illustrator unknown, 1867. From Leonard De Vries (ed.), Exciting Scene at a Fire: Narrow Escape of Six Persons, ‘Orrible Murder – an Anthology of Victorian Crime and Passion Compiled from the Illustrated Police News, Book Club Associates, 1974.

This programme of artist moving image considers the forensic science maxim every contact leaves a trace’. Abstracted narratives which engage structurally with techniques of dissection and reconstruction are included alongside film portraits exploring the female amateur detective and essayistic enquiries which interrogate the residue of past events. Selected works use the mystery genre as both a methodology and context, examining buildings as bodies and the city as a crime scene.

This screening is part of GFT’s Crossing the Line strand and is curated by Naomi Pearce.

Naomi Pearce is a writer and producer living in Glasgow. Recent projects include 56 Artillery Lane at Raven Row, London (co-curated with Amy Budd). She is co-editor of A‑OR-IST journal and a current AHRC funded PhD candidate in Art at the University of Edinburgh (supervised by Maria Fusco and Dr Elizabeth Reeder).


Naeem Mohaiemen, Rankin Street, 1953, 2013, video, 7 min 40 sec

A forgotten box of old photos, the lost memories from the past, and Naeem’s search to know the untold stories by his father evoked the idea of Rankin Street, 1953′. – Samdani Art Foundation website

Leah Gilliam, Sapphire and the Slave Girl, 1995, video, 18 min 20 sec

Loosely based on the 1950s British detective film Sapphire, in which two Scotland Yard detectives investigate the murder of a young woman who is passing for white, Sapphire and the Slave Girl’ examines the determinants of Sapphire’s murder investigation through its cinematic representation. Referencing detectives from Marlowe to Shaft, Sapphire and the Slave Girl’ enacts its analysis in the persona of the hard-boiled detective in order to highlight transgressions of identity and location. Featuring a multifarious cast of identity-shifting Sapphires, this fast-paced genre bash visualizes and problematizes the way that identity is negotiated and performed within urban spaces. – Video Data Bank website

Susu Laroche, Body of Work, 2017, 16mm transferred to video, 2 min 15 sec

Following a series of freak accidents, a tattoo artist reclaims his body of work. Drawings by Caleb Kilby. Original sound by Astrid Gnosis.Artist’s website

John Smith, Blight, 1994 – 96, 16mm transferred to SD video, 14 min 

Blight’ was made in collaboration with the composer Jocelyn Pook. It revolves around the building of the M11 Link Road in East London, using images and sounds of demolition and road building in conjunction with the spoken words of local residents. Although the film is constructed from images and sounds of real events, Blight’ exploits the ambiguities of its material to produce new meanings and metaphors, fictionalising reality through framing and editing strategies. – LUX website

Mark Barker, Stuart Certain, 2014, HD video, 15 min 57 sec

Set in a rented domestic space that has been re-functioned as a make-shift laboratory, Stuart Certain’ focuses on a group of occupants who come together to play out a series of experiments. LGLondon website

Ming Yuen S. Ma, Sniff, 1997, Betacam SP video, 5 min

In a stark white room, on an unmade bed, a naked man is crawling in circles. He is trying to remember the men he had sex with on the bed by searching for traces of their scent left there. Sniff’ is an experimental videotape that uses structural repetition and video degeneration to create a sense of memory and loss. It is a meditation on the relationship between promiscuity, technology, memory, fear of death and AIDS.Artist’s website

Lucy McKenzie & Richard Kern, The Girl who Followed Marple, 2014, video, 10 min

Director: Richard Kern Writer: Lucy McKenzie Music: Martial Canterel Part showcase for the fashion label Atelier E. B., part infomercial for a particular brand of menstrual cup, The Girl who follows Marple’ envelopes it’s commercial underpinnings in the familiarity of a made-for-TV thriller and the complicit voyeurism that a collaboration with Kern entails. – Vimeo page