Expanded Cinema/Magic Lantern Performance by Melissa Ferrari
Deluge Contemporary Art, 636 Yates Street, Victoria
Relict: A Phantasmagoria is an experimental documentary performed with antique magic lanterns and hand-drawn animation. Invoking the history of magic lantern phantasmagoria as an exercise in belief and perception, Relict considers the zeitgeist of pseudoscience, fake news, religion and documentary ethics collapsed within contemporary cryptozoology.
Adapting modern cryptozoological lore such as the Loch Ness Monster to hand-drawn magic lantern slides based on antique designs, Relict employs the visual language of magic lantern phantasmagoria, including geared slides and dissolving views. These pre-cinematic images are infused with the aesthetics of veracity in current nonfiction filmmaking, including CGI speculative animated documentary, thermal imaging and interventions of rotoscoped documentary re-enactment. The performer’s comments on skeptical cryptozoology are nested in a collage of audio including interviews with Dr. Brian Regal (Keane University), a leading historian of science on the politics of skepticism in cryptozoology, recent creationist sermons and excerpts of pseudoscientific wildlife documentaries ranging from Disney’s infamous White Wilderness (1958) to the Discovery Channel’s Mermaids (2012).