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SPECTRAL stands for Spatial, Performative & Expanded Cinematics – Transnational Research at Artist-run Labs.

SPECTRAL gathers six labs run by artists dedicated to analogue film practices with an experimental and DIY approach. The practices include research, curation, invention, empirical engineering, and construction in a non-hierarchical way. We share a common enthusiasm for experimental cinema and its history, from the pioneers who invented moving image, to avant-garde and underground film and cross-media practices.

We would like to bring this heritage to new places and intertwine expanded cinematic arts with other disciplines. Collectively we use the term Expanded Cinematic Arts (E.C.A.) referring to the range of practices that we aim to encourage and develop, creating overlapping areas between film labs and a variety of contexts and aesthetic concerns. For SPECTRAL, we draw inspiration from ancient projection rituals such as Asian shadow theater, magic lanterns, and phantasmagorias, as well as contemporary visual and performance arts.

Historic references will be mobilized to invent new forms of art through photo-mechanical projection, performative practices, hybrid technology and research. Through the creation and circulation of E.C.A., SPECTRAL promotes plurality and creates sensory experiences based on exchange and communication. Furthermore, SPECTRAL aims to develop new structures and tools for E.C.A. challenging traditional circuits of moving image creation and distribution.

Each participating lab will offer a program of residencies. Equipment no longer used on an industrial scale will be enhanced and new devices created. To encourage the expansion of technical knowledge we will hold workshops both on the use of newly developed devices, and on broader E.C.A. techniques. We will also exhibit new works within festivals, events, and touring programs in each of the lab’s regional networks.

Throughout the entire project, special attention will be paid to reaching out to people from other disciplines as well as artists from under-represented communities in different parts of the world to help them attend the events.

The project also involves the important work of documentation. It will consist of technical information surrounding the production of new devices, video documentation of resulting performances, reports of each workshop, and diverse media such as text, photography, interviews, and sketches, forming a vast E.C.A archive. These elements will be gathered online through a collaborative wiki and in a final print publication.

Within SPECTRAL, PRISME represents a space for showcasing E.C.A.
The programme of Mire’s annual festival, which shows the multiple facets of inventive contemporary analog film, will be supplemented by Expanded Cinematic Art proposals, some of which will be produced during the project’s various residencies programmes.

On the occasion of this project, Mire has chosen to develop the thematic axis WANDERING SOUND AND IMAGES, in a desire to deploy images and sounds in space, an idea of lightness, the possibility of roaming, a philosophy of wandering.

The underlying posture of this orientation is the affirmation of the versatile dimension of cinematographic forms, capable of adaptation or even resilience in the face of conjunctural situations such as the advent of a pandemic, or the more deeply rooted complexity of access to creative spaces for artists.

Our desire is also to create opportunities for encounters between little-known artistic practices and unexpected audiences, notably by disseminating them outside of traditional presentation structures (public space, city outskirts, rural spaces, wandering, etc.).

The theme of “Wandering sound and images” will be developed in three areas

  • A programme of three creative research seminars bringing together a semi-local and semi-international team of artist-inventors to develop a kit of three portable, light, compact and self-powered tools: a film projector, a loudspeaker orchestra and a development laboratory
  • A programme of three artistic residencies aimed at developing performative forms in movement, mixing film, performance and sound in a spirit of hybridization and innovation, with a given landscape as a framework, source of inspiration and pretext for adaptation: urban verticality, port space, river banks.
  • A programme of workshops for schoolchildren in so-called “priority” neighborhoods and for children with sensory disorders – proposed by local artists, in connection with the issues reflected in the research seminars and residencies.