We’ve reported recently on the trend for photographers, and advertisers, to use analog film, or analog ‘film effects’ on digital, with companies such as Instagram and Hipstamatic building entire businesses around it.
British artist Tacita Dean, well known for her love of all things analog, is currently filling the large Turbine Hall space in London’s Tate Modern with a movie called “Film”, a visual poem to the disappearing technology of film. She explains in a short documentary reflecting on the project that “Failure for me would be if people said ‘she could just have done that on digital’.”
One irony that wouldn’t be lost on Dean is that the advert preceding her film on The Guardian newspaper site – for Irish singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan – looks like it has that digitally simulated Lens-Flare effect so popular at the moment. An effect that’s used to conjure up nostalgia for a mythical age of pure photography/film free of effects.
Dean’s work often celebrates old technology and images of the Future from previous ages. Like filmmakers Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, Tacita Dean is genuinely anxious about the disappearance of analog film, and this work has tapped into a more pervasive desire for imagery that looks tactile, that bears the marks of time, that has the feeling of visual testimony.