master positive

installation, 2023

The installation refers directly to the invisible work of women in the film industry. Since the beginning of cinema, women have appeared on both sides of the film set on the one hand as actresses placed in the spotlight, and on the other as crowds of employees working backstage, who dealt, for example, with hand-colouring the film. Pictures of women also served as technical images used in film laboratories. An example of such an image is a „Girl Head” (or „China Girl”) – a woman placed next to colour swatches and patches of white, grey and black and used to calibrate the desired exposure and colour balance. „China Girl” is a woman placed off-screen, instrumentalized as a set of numerical values and parameters. Individual film laboratories produced their own „Girl Heads” until the 1990s, hiring models or asking employees to pose. Their image would be contained on the film reel but never displayed. “Master Positive” is the name of the positive frame to which copies are matched, an essentially abstract master according to which successive duplicates are reproduced.

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