Through a collaborative series of photographs, installation, and projected video, How to Make Good Movies investigates fraught interactions between the body and machines that mediate or alter perception and vision. In the digital video Surgery, the clinical dismantling of a 16mm film projector is simultaneously violent and gentle. Henderson and Siddall’s clean, manicured hands carefully manipulate the machine, stripping it bare of any use value or function—yet the labor of removing stripped screws and examining rusted, oily machinery is evident on the skin. The artists struggle through unrehearsed instances while taking apart the machine; subtle inconsistencies in continuity rupture the unrelenting, fixed camera position. The disembodied gaze of the camera and the artists’ attempts to organize the projector pieces suggests a utopic, mid-century rationalism, yet is clearly of the current moment.
In the photographic series Manual, the artists’ hands display a mid-century ‘non technical handbook’ titled How to Make Good Movies, depicting women engaging in amateur cinema of domestic situations. The female hands in Surgery and Manual perform gender through the subtly transgressive act of partaking in the traditionally male work of surgery, filmmaking, and contemporary art. The exhibit How to Make Good Movies locates the analog, female body in relation to interfaces, screens, scanning and other methods of contemporary observation. These exchanges between body and machine reveal a complexity of processes in the experience of technology—the uneasy space between the body and apparatuses of vision is not so easily dismantled.