In "Rostrum Press: Materials Testing", I use the Oxberry 16mm animation stand as a mechanism to test the response of a variety of objects and materials to the downward pressure of the camera. A professional animation stand is a large, heavy machine, with a powerful motor attached to move the camera up and down. Each shot in "Rostrum Press" is essentially a self-contained little film in which the camera moves inexorably closer to its object, one-eighth of an inch closer between each frame and the next, until contact is made and the object is pressed down towards the rostrum table as nearly flat as possible. The objects placed under pressure range from simple everyday items - an egg, an ice-cream cone, a plastic cup - to "sets" built specially for the purpose.
"Rostrum Press: Materials Testing" responds to an isolated aspect of two films by Michael Snow: "Breakfast (Table Top Dolly)" (1972-76) and "Presents" (1980-81), with an additional/incidental nod to Snow's "Wavelength" (1967). What attracted me to working with "Breakfast" and the final part of the staged middle section of "Presents" as models was the peculiar role of the camera as a destructive presence in these films: a wreaker of havoc. The idea of destruction as an integral part of the creative act. (Given the current situation, we might more accurately speak about the relationship between production and destruction.)
"The urge to destroy is also a creative urge." - Mikhail Bakunin