Stefan Cammeraat

Preamble

Preamble overview at BAK, Utrecht. Documentation by Alena Vinokurova.

Portal at BAK, Utrecht. Prop (Walkman) can be heard in the background.

Portal (detail) at BAK, Utrecht. Documentation by Alena Vinokurova.

Trailer for 554326.3N, 371935.1E. Recorded at De Nijverheid. Documentation by Francisco Baquerizo Racines.

Prop (Walkman) at BAK, Utrecht. Documentation by Alena Vinokurova.

About

Coming to terms. 2021 - ongoing

Coming to terms presents a horror film moments before filming starts. Rather than focusing on the end product (a film), the work remains a constant negotiation between different cinematic aspects, taking on a new constellation every time the work is presented. Props, soundtracks, special effects and scripts are consequently not defined in service of the narrative of the film. The logic of cinematic sequentiality is replaced with the ritualistic repetition of the structures of ghostfilms: the music box that plays in advance of the spirit, the sound-ques that forego reasoning. Coming to terms uses affective experiences, the driving force of horror stories, such as feelings of dread or jump scares, to restructure historical narratives; prioritizing bodily experiences over narrative continuity.

While there is no set-in-stone temporal order, no ultimately finalized sequence, the basic framework of the work is divided in two parts: The Preamble and the Final Act.

Preamble


The ghost in Coming to terms is the unrealized monument designed by Ukranian artist Kazimir Malevich to mark his burial site in the 1920s. The Preamble constitutes the first appearance of the ghost in the film. The spirit, invading our present from the past is always in process of translation. It presents itself through periferal phenomena: the not so gentle knocking on walls, bass-drones and various audioques.

Likewise, Malevich's unrealized tomb is a sculpture that manifests itself as a ghostly apparation. The (existing) light system of an exhibition space is invaded and controlled by its presence, numerous props are spread around the space and a mysterious subwoofer in the shape of a door produces loud subsonic drones, inaudible but felt in the body- rattling doors and windows in the building.

Following is an index of some of the ways the preamble presented itself in past itterations:

Screenplay

Portal

Portal is a subwoofer in the shape of a door (which in turn is reminiscent of the shape of Malevich's Coffin). Research conducted by NASA gives as a possible explanation for ghost sightings specific inaudibly low frequencies produced by, for example, broken ceiling fans. The mechanics of the subwoofer, a large computer controlled type of fan, requires to be positioned in between two adjacent spaces. Effectively, Portal invades existing architecture in order to produce sounds by using existing passageways and empty spaces as speaker cabinets. The produced sounds move from the audible into the haptic experience: rather than a sound you can hear you feel it in your body as a strange, eerie, pressence. The liminal doorway of Portal creates a physical, bodily, entry point into the Coming to terms world, while at the same time producing all kinds of cliche effects related to horror movies: rambling doors and windows and an intense feeling of unease.

Wherever Portal is presented, the existing lighting system in the space is harnessed and programmed to create a visual manifestation of the spirit.

554326.3N, 371935.1E

Portal functions as a tool for transgressing boundaries: in the performance '554326.3N, 371935.1E', the exact geographical location of Malevich's final resting place, I perform a lecture given by the film's protagonist.
This lecture performance uses the voice as a means to transmit the actual, little known historical, reality of Malevich's grave. The voice trembles, and drops in tone as the delirium of the haunting takes over the body. The only direct access to the history is informed by the subjectivity of the character, the emotive writing of horror and the physical effects the speaker (Portal) has on the bodies of the audience.

After the lecture, an echo remains bound to the exhibition space.

Prop (Walkman)

During the film, the characters walkman changes shape, growing into a fleshy amalgamation, grotesquely mimicking the shape of malevich's monument. The walkman loudly plays a filmic black metal soundtrack which can be heard throughout the room, eventhough it's played on headphones. The track seems to be eternally slowing down by an auditive illusion: the loop captures a single shot of the film, while the deceleration holds the cinematic tension of the scene. The discontinuity of Coming to terms is executed in a sculptural prop with minor performative elements. It exists in multiple forms, corresponding to its transformation in the film. Whenever displayed, they will be interchanged frequently and without notice.

Final Act


Narratively, the Final Act takes place after the death of the protagonist-narrator. In true ghostmovie fashion, the final camera angle presents a trace of the spirits reappearance: a door slightly ajar, a clock standing still. The spirit shows itself to the audience, breaking the fourth wall: the ghost now haunts our reality the audience is implied. In this instance this breach is the exhibition itself, simultaneously part of the film as it is part of reality. The visitor retreats from the scene and their eyes light up briefly as the camera pans away, just before they exit the exhibition space.

Following is an index of some of the ways the Final Act presented itself in past itterations:

Screenplay