I did not know anything about Hawick apart from it is next to Galashiels. All I know about Galashiels is that it is like most scottish towns; If you visit on a sunday the only source of entertainment is it’s Tescos. I now know that Hawick is different. I visited on a sunday. It’s abandoned auction house hosts several video installations while it’s local cinema screens international experimental films. What else can you ask for? I am a new man now.
Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival is an international festival of experimental film and artists’ moving image. This years theme was ‘DreamLand’, focussing on film explorations of the natural world as a place of dreams, relating further to utopian dreams of a Scottish homeland – in Scotland’s Year of Homecoming, and the Scottish Referendum. My short film E215 was selected for its ‘Dreamland’ programme. The reason I’m writing this is because having grown up in a small scottish town I could not imagine hosting an experimental film festival. That in itself is an experiment. Saturday night I attended a performance by the French collective, Nominoë. The event took place in the town hall. The contrast between the conservative environment and the performance made it feel appropriate that only an experimental film festival should take place in Hawick. As stated Alchemy has made me a new man. Perhaps I am ignorant but to see projected experimental work in Scotland is rare. I felt that every aspect of the festival was treated with great care and thought. I look forward to next years festival.
Cortex: Nominoë & Stéphane Mensah
Nominoë are a collective of artists made up of filmmakers Emmanuel Lefrant, Alexis Constantin, Nicolas Berthelot and Stéphane Courcy di Rosa. Through a play of shadows, the screen captures the image of a body in movement before the projectors’ beams of light, while the dancer’s gestures, through sensors, sculpt light and sound in the space within which he evolves. I took a wee picture after the performance of what is behind the screen. Five 16mm projectors next to a strobe light.
The festival also had a healthy amount of video installations works by Andrew Kotting, Ruth Le Gear, Pat Law and many more. All were available for the public to visit. Below is the auction house, one of the buildings that housed the video installations.
System Error – Guli Silberstein
Images In A Nondescript Fountain – Karl F.Stewart
Alchemy film festival website
All of the good photographs taken by Patrick Rafferty.