NOTES ON: SCENE 13 - THE CROW
In 2017 we had a period of making a series of works about darkness, films shot in low light with barely visible images that push the eye to the limits of seeing. This exploration reached a climax when we made Black Sun - a feature film with long sections of over 20 minutes in which there were no on-screen images at all. This had the effect of plunging the viewer into total darkness, the only images they saw were conjured in the mind by an intricately designed soundtrack.
One short work from this period, which we present here this month, was Scene 13 – The Crow, a film created from the discarded fragments of glitch and fuzz from a VHS tape. We collected these small pieces of waste footage while digitizing some early works and became totally captivated by the life we were finding in the space between the recorded images.
The 'Scene 13' of the title refers to the 13th Arcanum of the Tarot de Marseille, commonly known as the death card. Though the image may strike alarm when pulled from the deck, it is in fact not as terrifying as at first it may seem. The 13th card indicates a transformation and personal rebirth, and the necessary symbolic death that must take place for this to happen. We all go through many personal transformations in our lives but in order to grow and change we must first let go of something. This was an experience we were grappling with in this film both psychologically and artistically.
This film was made in a personally difficult period of our lives, a feeling that is present in the weight of the mood that hangs over this piece. What we now know looking back is that this dark period was followed by a huge creative outpouring. The stripping away of images, the visual breaking down, was like the way ploughing a field in winter prepares the ground for new growth come spring.
Like the reaper on the 13th card, the crow too lives within the human imagination as an ominous symbol, a bird of death, darkness and the underworld – it was an obvious choice as a guide on this journey.
Birds have always been present in our work, we find them sneaking into the corners of many of our films and writing. Crows are particularly frequent visitors, they were there in the first film we made together and can be heard and seen in many works since. Often now when we are out filming or taking photos around the island we hear them cawing from the top of a tree or pylon and we give them a respectful nod.
This film is best viewed in the dark and like many of our works from this time it is intended as an experience, not a thing to be approached with the intellect but a sensorial ritual requiring surrender. So we wish you well as you enter the darkness and take flight with the crow.
- Daniel & Clara, December 2021