Picture Yourself In A Burning Building

Scott Treleaven

2014, 26:00 minutes, Colour, English


“Utilizing a combination of rotating pinwheel fireworks, mirrored ‘flash frames’ and degraded images of an older man’s hand clutching the arm of a younger man as they navigate a city street, this new commission reflects Scott Treleaven’s consistent focus on ideas of queer mentorship and queer historical continuity. It was inspired by a life-changing encounter with filmmaker Derek Jarman. Says Treleaven: ‘The footage was collected without an eye for narrative or even finished product, rather as a catalogue of a “way of seeing”’ – the very gift Jarman, nearly blind, gave Treleaven all those years ago. The visceral texture of the melted portraiture here, the Terence Hannum/Locrian soundtrack and even the inclusion of fire elements also suggest a creative pagan anger – also a Jarman move – and an all-too-mundane helplessness at the memory of a mentorship cut short. The work serves to continue that one-day conversation with Jarman through the use of Super 8 film. Inspired by Jarman’s own mischievous approach to the medium, Treleaven soon began creating Super 8 works himself after their meeting – a practice he continues to this day and which he mines for this new installation. The film also reflects Treleaven’s interest in ‘undoing’ cinema. A toolbox of techniques from the experimental film tradition shared by both him and Jarman takes on even greater power here as historical queer images dissolve into abstractions and we deeply feel, in Treleaven’s words, ‘the void left by a generation of gay artists felled by social and political prejudice.’”

– Noah Cowan
(text from the Queer Outlaw Cinema exhibition at TIFF, summer 2014)

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