While I was preparing to write the press release for Volume 18, the most recent of the Journal of Short Film’s publications, I watched the collection of works in sequence again and again. Each time the films revealed to me an even greater incite into its theme of communicating across space and time, and those areas of misinterpretation we all encounter in life. Each viewing I would return to the same piece, Rob Tylor’s Color + Modulation 1. The film is the first in a collection of eight films on 16mm. Rather than shooting with the film, Tylor hand painted each frame with a spinning wheel of vivid colors and light, and provided a meditative soundtrack accompaniment. The piece is absent of dialog and human presence, although the artist’s imprint is clearly visible as each frame is slightly different than the next. The effect is mesmerizing. The slight hissing and popping with the circular movements of the brushstrokes liken to a glowing vinyl, with colors so meticulously chosen they create retina burning compositions. The colors lift off of the screen in a neon electric glow and into the world outside of the monitor or screen.
I have always personally struggled with interpreting the abstract. As most humans, I seek that which fits into neatly categorized packages, seeking order in this life full of chaos. In this way Color + Modulation 1 challenges me with the questions posed by the encapsulating work of Volume 18, I Cannot Understand You by David Baeumler. How do we understand each other over so many differences? Can we learn to discover and accept those things that bind us as humans? Can we understand without using arbitrary names and calculation, but simply appreciate our language of expression without using a translator, accept the images of our world without a guide? We are all moved by and survive through the color and light of our experience.