Alexa Raisbeck works between the concerns of film, text, sculpture and installation. Her focus is on the creation of artefacts that call attention to film: its body as material, the film frame as structure and its content as language. She is not at all concerned with the idea of film as a medium for narrative illusion. Her creative intentions echo those of the structural/materialist filmmakers of the late 1960s to 1970s, who also used a range of tactics to demystify film and emphasize its overlooked characteristics. At that time such experimental work was curtailed by the advent of video technologies, which brought new possibilities for creative exploration. Our relationship to film has since changed further; although habitually we still speak of film, cinema experiences are now mediated by digital technology. As a foreword to her work Alexa Raisbeck asks us to consider the following facts:
- Earlier this year a major Hollywood film studio announced that it will no longer be distributing films on 35mm stock. The majority of cinemas in the UK are now digital.
- Film laboratories across the world are shutting down, no longer producing celluloid stock. This has made it increasingly difficult to work in the medium. 16mm filmmaking is no longer taught in universities and colleges.
- Over the last three years all the major cinema chains in the UK have made film projectionists redundant and their roles defunct. A profession with well over 100 years of history has now almost disappeared.
It is Raisbeck’s professional training and experience as a projectionist in 16mm, 35mm and 70mm film that has furnished her with the skills and knowledge that are central to her art practice.
Alexa Raisbeck studied Media Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London (2003 – 2006) and for an MA in Art and Media Practice at the University of Westminster (2009 – 2011). At the same time as her BA studies she trained in film presentation, handling and mechanics as a projectionist with 35mm. She subsequently took up technical management posts and also went to Canada to train with larger film gauges including 70mm. A highly experienced film projectionist she is one of the last still working in Leicester Square. Recent exhibitions of her work include The Brain Art Project (2012), Sydney, Australia and Hidden (2011), Shoreditch Town Hall, London.