super 8mm filmstrip, projector, steel, plastic reels
dimensions variable
© 2008 k stephen griffith
witness consists of super 8mm filmstrip which was shot throughout my childhood. for this piece, carefully chosen portions of the film were spliced together into one continuous loop. this loop was then fed through the projector, as well as a series of reels attached to the floor and ceiling. when the projector is activated, the film runs from the projector and through the reels where it continues from floor to ceiling in opposing directions before returning to the projector. 
the image being projected is itself shot through the curtain of filmstrip, exposing it once again to the same past events it has already recorded and held for decades. the portion of the projected image that bleeds through this curtain is seen on an opposing wall, where the shadows of the filmstrip itself testify to memory’s inexorable decay.
all of this film has been converted to video tape, which itself has been converted yet again to dvd. the original film may be obsolete as a format for viewing past events, but the celluloid filmstrip itself can still be considered a more undiluted and unfiltered documentation of these events than the more modern, digital formats that they now exist as. with video tape, dvd, or any other non-film format, the recorded images must go through several processes during which they are converted and translated from machine to machine and medium to medium until the light that was originally captured is finally reproduced through a projector, monitor, or some other viewing device. today’s advanced, digital modes of moving image reproduction and storage are far superior where aspects of image quality and preservation are concerned, but there are still several degrees of separation between the event that took place and the mimeographed version that enters the eyes of a viewer at some later time. even in the case of a photograph, you are looking at a facsimile of a past event that went through several processing steps before landing onto the paper or monitor that you are using to view it.
with a filmstrip, however, there is no degree of separation, because the very film that you see here is the same exact stuff that was running through the camera when the event took place. the light reflecting off of the event passed through nothing more than the camera’s lens before leaving its mark directly onto this narrow strip of celluloid. it now exists in the form of hundreds of tiny photographs that can be viewed long after the event itself. 
the filmstrip is as close to a first-hand, undiluted witness of an event as is technologically or biologically possible, even more reliable than the fading memories inscribed on the mind of any person that may have been actually present at the event.
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