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8-14 August, 2022

BAL Summer school

Rucka Artist Residency, Cēsis

The school will focus on exploration and engagement with the environment of Cesis city and it's surroundings which is located at the Gauja National Park  which is famous for the river Gauja and cliffs that were formed during the Ice age by melting ice and river. Therefore we also want to link the school's topic on water and its impact on Earth, humans and of course film processing and projecting. Therefore we will invite local geologists and researchers to give more insight into the 

area we will be at. 

During the week we will be exploring various ways of creating extended cinematic works with an intense hands-on practice creating works that will be presented in the environment of the area by the end of the week. The participants will be split into two groups - one focusing on sound and the other on apparatus of projector and the shutter. However other practical skills will be taught throughout the week giving short input and ideas on working with photochemical film and projectors. The both teams will be led by tutors assisting and leading the teams into particular directions. 

However, we will also have open slots for mutual discussions focusing on the needs and ideas of the practitioners of photochemical film, therefore we particularly invite people from the global film lab network to join the meeting. 

Sound team: Graphic Scores

Mentored workshop by Filmwerklpaats (NL)


In the history of sound in experimental film, one of the most important creative practices is the use of (optical*) soundtracks created by ‘graphic' patterns.

The fact that the optical sound track is equivalent to the electro-acoustic signal makes it possible to synthesize sounds by applying graphical patterns and/or geometric shapes or images of ornaments directly onto film. This can be done direct animation wise, using photogram techniques with raw stock, or by stenciling or drawing on clear film.

With a little practice it's even possible to create synthesizer-like sound compositions, but then graphic sound played a significant role in the construction of early electronic musical instruments.


*The first practical sound-on-film systems were created almost simultaneously in the USSR, USA and Germany. Most of the inventions that led to optical sound-on-film technology employed the use of an electric lamp, called an exciter, shining through a translucent waveform printed on the edge of a film strip. When the light shines through the film, it is read by a photo-sensitive sensor and fed through a processor that converts the photovoltaic impulse into an audio signal that is then amplified through a speaker.

Sound team: Sound As Space

Mentored workshop by Maksims Šenteļevs (LV)

The aim of the creative workshop “Sound as space” is to reveal special attention and cognitive abilities in the process. To develop a creative, unbiased perception of the surroundings, which expands the understanding of the cultural environment emerging in the interaction of communication and space. The workshop takes the form of lectures and practical classes. It includes listening sessions that introduce the technique of deep listening, an overview of the aesthetic and technical aspects of field recordings, as well as introduction to recording techniques, sound collection practices, an introduction to the concept of soundscapes and sound mixing techniques. Attention will be paid to the use of field recordings in the recording of cinematographic material and developing sound pieces to be presented by the end of the school.


Shutters team: Moving Stills

Mentored workshop by Luis Macias / Crater Lab (ES)

This workshop aims to explore different tools and possibilities around the multiple photographic slide projector. It regards the projector as a tool and the slide as a non-static image. During the workshop the participants will learn different modifications both internal and external that can be easily done with different technological and DYS devices. At the same time, participants will also learn different image processes both from a plastic and physical perspective.


The workshop is mainly practical and the participants will learn how to create, intervene and develop color 35mm prints and also explore creative ways of live projection with multiple carousel slide projectors. The workshop ends with a collective improvisation exercise. 


Shutters team: Exterior Shutters

Mentored workshop by Juan David González Monroy and Ivan Kiss/ LaborBerlin (DE)

The camera is known as a capturing device. It is a possessor of images. By magnifying basic elements of the cinematic illusion – the shutter and the frame – we want to propose a device that can transform perception without taking ownership of the images it frames.


In the workshop we will use interior and exterior spaces to create non-possessing simulations of the camera and the projector.  


Exterior: One large wooden shutter will be built and placed in a location outdoors. In front of the shutter there will be a film frame cut in the 1:1.37 aspect ratio. The shutter is motorized and battery operated. A hand-cranked dynamo will charge the battery.


Interior: One large shutter will be built and placed in a space indoors in front of a window. The window will be blacked out except for a film frame cut in the 1:1.37 aspect ratio. The shutter will be motorized. The space inside the room will be completely dark except for light that comes through the frame. 


In each setting the shutter spins in front of the frame creating the traditional flicker effect of motion picture projectors and cameras. The shutter can cycle through different frame rates. Whatever happens within the frame during the time that that shutter is in motion creates the film.


Participants will choose the sites and build both shutters communally under the guidance of filmmaker Juan David González Monroy and designer Ivan Kiss. Once the shutters are built, the group will create - using microphones placed outside and light sensitive sensors placed in front of the shutter – a time-based performance in the indoor space based on four traditional shutters speeds: 12,18, 24 and 48 fps.


Input workshop: Lenses

Workshop by Nan Wang/ Filmwerkpaats (NL)

Nowadays there are many cheap lenses for digital cameras available. If we can adapt the distance between lens and film and design a universal lens mount system for 16mm EIKI and/or Hokushin projectors we can use these affordable lenses for analog projection. Nan Wang (Filmwerkplaats) will show how lens mount and focal length can be adapted with DIY fabrication and handmade modifications with simple materials from the hardware store.

Nan Wang is a multidisciplinary media artist and experimental filmmaker who lives and works in Rotterdam the Netherlands. She researches the intersection between memories and technology and often finds beauty and philosophical meanings in unwanted objects and obsolete technologies in our life. Nan Wang uses both digital and analog techniques to re-invent and re-engineer obsolete media and create tangible audiovisual tools. Her works take the form of interactive projection installations, optical devices, live audiovisual performances, and experimental films.


Input workshop: Camera & Contact Printer

Workshop by Esther Urlus/ Filmwerkpaats (NL)

One of the first motion-picture apparatuses, the Cinématographe - an invention by the brothers Lumiere, was a device that not only recorded the image, but also acted as a contact printer and projector. So then, let's find out if we can use a 16mm projector as both camera and printer!


Esther Urlus is a Rotterdam-based artist working with motion picture film formats Super8, 16mm and 35mm. Resulting in films, performances and installations, her works always arise from DIY methods. Kneading the material, by trial, error and (re) inventing, she creates new work. Urlus’ work has been exhibited and screened at film festivals worldwide, among other 25FPS festival Zagreb, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Oberhausen Short Film Festival, Sonic Acts, and the International Film Festival Rotterdam.


Input workshop: Projection and the Machine

Workshop by Erwin Van t'Hart / Filmwerkpaats (NL)

Basics of  projecting with a 16mm projector & different models

All about light-lenses-calculations, sound-exciter lamp-amplifier & output to mixer, troubleshooting.

Erwin van 't Hart studied at the AKI art academy, art history at the UVA and works as a free-lance programmer, projection technician and advisor for a range of filmmakers, artists, projects, museums and festivals including International Film Festival Rotterdam, Vertical Cinema, 25 FPS in Zagreb, Sonic Acts and artist run filmlab WORM.filmwerkplaats.


Input workshop: Natural Graphic Scores

Workshop by Aurélie Percevault/ Mire (FR)

How would the edge of a mint, rose, chestnut tree leaf or the regular variations of densities within a blade of grass sound transposed on the space dedicated to the soundtrack on the16 mm film strip ?

The idea is to create optical sound tracks by rayograming patterns from natural elements found in the surrounding of the venue.

Aurélie Percevault is one of the core members of the Nantes based association Mire, focusing on photochemical and expanded moving image practices. She is also an occasionnal filmmaker, working both with single channel film as well as installations and performances.

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