Borna Sammak at Sadie Coles

It is the moving image work ‘Not yet titled’ shown in this intimate exhibition space that has stayed with me and often popped up in conversation as a reference since I saw it. Shown on a large, glossy, flat screen monitor, hung unconventionally portrait and framed by some intricately carved artificially yellow substance, this work uses a peculiar editing technique that allows multiple clips to play at once. Here Sammak has managed to edit out the static parts of found footage, the backgrounds mainly, and thus the video consists only of the moving elements of a series of clips. These clips focus on animals, some times in groups and other times on their own, there are many clips shown simultaneously and as they are all individually quite small in scale, this creates a vibrant and continuously morphing texture on the flat, shiny screen. I was unable to get too close to the monitor as the floor beneath it was lowered and there were other pieces of work in the way, this forced me to view the work from afar and perhaps prohibited me from seeing to closely the shortcomings of this editing technique. In most cases parts of the static imagery glitches into recognition, but from afar this only added to the diversity of movements and colour dominating the black surface of the screen. I think it is the transformation of the sleek digital screen into an organic texture that this work was aiming to effect, as below it there was another screen that had been severely damaged but was still able to turn on and minimally function. Behind the cracks in the glass a strip of white light moved across the screen making unique CYMK patterns with every stroke. The close proximity of these works and the similarity of the screens created a subtle yet irrevocable connection to one another, and to the relationship between the screen and the natural world.

‘Not Yet Titled’ – borna Sammak at Sadie Coles

I have also been considering ways of isolating certain parts of footage to focus on animals. For example in my work in progress; ‘Animals adapting to civilisation’ I would like to use a similar technique for each video clip in order to analyse the movements and behaviour of the animals without being able to see their surroundings. In many of the clips the animals are in a zoo or in a home so I think it’s important to look closely at the way in which we restrict animals from their natural habitats and perhaps a successful way of doing this would be by isolating them completely from any recognisable landscape. In this way the viewers are blinded by their sense of sight but I will still keep the full audio to create a frustrating experience for the senses, both of these techniques also mimic the way in which the wild animal would experience these forms of captivity.

To watch a clip of this work visit:

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