Bruce McClure takes his sonic cues from the rock and roll toolkit. McClure creates synthetic soundtracks by masking, bleaching, or sanding off the celluloid emulsion on the optical soundtrack, which is then run through the projector’s amplifier and sent out to a labyrinth of electric guitar effect pedals such as distortion, delay, and chorus. McClure uses multiple projectors in his cameraless pieces, along with colored gels, colored inks, metal plates inserted into the film shoe assembly/pressure plate–the part of the projector that applies pressure onto the film so that its sprocket holes are taken up and advanced successively–various lenses, and a rheostat to vary the light intensity of his projector beams. In notes accompanying his performances, McClure lists the various media in his works in the manner of a fine-art piece, and often informs viewers as to the number of film loops being manipulated as well as the intervals of clear and black frames he is using to create his flicker effects. These hard facts are often set against McClure’s more poetic and oblique annotations, such as: “Light first modulated by the rundle band then the slip of waverlings over the optical sound system–a speechless caravan admitted to the oasis by lid and auricle, another resurrection of the incandescent machine age!”
Working within the set media parameters of a piece, McClure–who is also a licensed architect–plays his apparatus in an improvisatory fashion, manipulating the various elements and controls in real time like a musical instrument. The resulting visuals are often flickering geometric shapes–trapezoids, crosses, rectangles within rectangles–that produce hallucinatory afterimages.