Thorsten Fleisch
Austrian filmmaker Thorsten Fleisch has made a number of unique handmade films out of different techniques and elements, including Feuer frei (Open Fire, 1998), an unprojectable film of burnt black and clear leader rubbed with ash: It exists only as a film object. For Kosmos (2004), he grew crystals directly on the filmstrip. The film builds to a sequence of single-frame editing that produces a cascade of dancing, hurtling light, wherein the crystals reveal hidden structures that would be unseen without their magnification via projection. In a sense, Kosmos acts in an analogical relationship to the filmmaking process, where a carefully constructed sequence can only be revealed through the act of it being played back through the apparatus. Fleisch has also used corporeal elements to build his films. Blutrasuch (Bloodlust, 1998) represents Fleisch's attempt to create "a very direct and immediate man-machine dialog" by applying his own blood to the filmstrip. Influenced by the Austrian painter Hermn Nitsch, who made paintings with his own blood, and perhaps following the Actionist motifs of the attack on and exploitation of the bodily, Fleisch infused the filmstrip with his literal life essence. He squished blood onto the film with and without tape, injected it with a syringe, smeared it with cotton swabs, and applied previously clotted blood as well. The swirls, cracks, and other patterns that resulted also bled--literally and figuratively--onto the optical soundtrack, so that the film's sonic element is a mix of the sound of blood being read by the projector. Blutrausch is real-life cyborg cinema, a deliberate marriage of the cinematography and blood that stands as the most elemental form of auto-portraiture, while also conjuring up associations with horror and war films. For Hautah (Skinflick, 2002), Fliesch used fingerprints on clear leader, "skin prints" of his own skin affixed to the film, and still images of painted skin. The soundtrack is of "aural skin scans" made by the director rubbing a finger along the phono cartridge of a record player, and is a synesthetic confluence of sight and sound designed to produce a sense of touch.

Sample Media:

Hautnah / Skinflick (2002)