Trapped Between Frames (Ming I Darkening of the Light )

UK 2014

Stereoscopic 3 channels Film Installation
8.56 min & 11.05 min loop /16mm / VH / HD 3D SIDE BY SIDE

Performance by Aya Toraiwa
Sound Design by Laila Hansen & Andrew Stuart-Buttle.
Narration by Laila Hansen & Ayami Andrews.

“To educate the image-making medium within us,raising it to a stereoscopic and dimensional seeing into the depths of historical shadows” [1]

Ming I Darkening of the Light is a stereoscopic film installation inspired by a pre-cinematic stereoscopic display. It employs different techniques to create an illusion of depth. There are two separate films displayed, Trapped Between Frames, outside and Dogu inside of the wooden structure. There is also a small projection onto a magnifying glass. Building a 3D stereoscopic installation inspired by its early form has driven my research into the history of technological progression from its stereoscopic illusion roots. The installation creates a dialogue between history of the 3D displayed and modes of visual record.The stereo soundscape has been created in collaboration with sound artists Laila Hansen and Andrew Stuart-Buttle. The Kaiser-panorama made in 1883 was the first mechanized apparatus which controlled the visual attention of the viewer. It restricted the viewing time of each image to 15 seconds. Through these fragments of stereoscopic scenarios the observer was driven by mechanization through a journey captured by colonial lenses. Imperialist ideology allowed the viewer to observe and experience the illusion of depth of a remote place for a period of time determined by the apparatus. With this installation I attempt to break through the disembodiment generated by the Kaiser-panorama, allowing the observer to experience depth in different ways. I have used Film, tape and digital apparatus during the process and have looked to the history of technological advances to create a physiological and neurological cinematic experience; the ‘Dream machine’

“Here the climax of the darkening is reached. The dark power at first held so high a place that it could wound all who were on the side of good and of the light. But in the end it perishes of its own darkness, for evil must itself fall at the very moment when it has wholly overcome the good, and thus consumed the energy to which it owed its duration.”

I Ching Hexagram 36 – Ming I / Darkening of the light

Once I was fascinated by mirrors, especially the magic bronze mirrors from ancient China. They may be the first cinematic technological device ever invented. The Chinese magic mirror bounces the light from the sun and projects an image that is carved on the back surface. They were used in Japan in early matriarchal societies, by shaman queens. Through a cult to the sun, they brought light out from the mirror to shed light on the lives and paths of ancient civilisations. At once actual and virtual, real and a reflection but also a projection that can trace light through space. The light of the sun from the mirror was so powerful it could create holes in the middle of the body. The early female shamans from Japan, used mirrors, looms and drums. They used these tools to open endless spaces for ritual, purification and cults to the gods and goddess, they lived in the bicameral mind in the everyday invocation. The myth tells that the sun goddess escaped from the unbearable cruelty of her brother, and hides away in a cave, leaving the world in darkness. Her own light was so strong it made the place so bright to not be seen anything. So, bright was the amount of light that all spaces in the cave turned into black, from her chest a hole appeared and from there it expanded till it covered all her body, at which she vanished into the darkness of the brightness.

‘I exist where the tree keeps its root, beneath blood and ground, where darkness bright at its best.’

That was the first time she inhabited the space of darkness. She had to learn the cave, she knew the cave and became the cave. The sound and echoes of the flap of the bats and butterflies produced the most astonishing harmonies. The drops of water, the wind through the tunnels and cavities, her own breath and movements, all echoed in reverberation with her body as it moved through the cave, the body became the antidote to her blindness. To navigate she listens to her body reflected upon the cave cavities, her movements echoed by the space. All the impossible and possible sounds started to be heard in the cave, a multitude of pan atonal compositions serving her as a map to navigate the space. She becomes the rhythmical and arithmetical sounds, embodying the space, becoming the cave and all that ever existed in the cave, the tones like threads spread throughout were collected by her using a spindle from where a loom weaved a membrane.

2014 Ming I Darkening of the Light. Stereoscopic. University of Brighton. Film Installation. Brighton, UK

Half circumference plywood structure of about 3 meters diameter, double wall built from plywood sheets of 3.6 mm. Interior 3D film is perceived by the use of active glasses and projected through Epson 3D projector. Outside film is displayed on TV Monitors, there are two view master binoculars from where to look through. I removed lenses inside the binoculars being that the film gives illusion of depth through combination of stop motion of right and left eye. A 3D cyan-red Image projected from mini projector onto a square magnify glass.


Dogu (inside film excerpt 1,20) 2D version single screen display from Nazare Soares on Vimeo.


2019 “Illusions” programme curated by Sarah Schipschack at Mumbai Art Room, Mumbai. India.
2018 10th Anniversary of Moving Image University of Brighton. Brighton Cinecity. Fabrica Gallery. Brighton. UK
2017 Other Cinema. Avant to Live: New experimental works. Artist Television Access. Screening. San Francisco, California.
2016 Wicca-ed Cinema. HÄXÄN WITCHES & ASTRAL VISIONS. Artist Television Access. Screening. San Francisco, California.
2016 Festival Internacional de Cinema Dobra, HÄXÄN – O Oculto Pessoal. Cinemateca MAM/RJ. Screening. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2016 Usurp Zone 5 Film Festival supported by BFI. Indian Habitat Centre. Screening. New Delhi, India
2015 Addis Video Art Festival. Compilation IVAHM on tour. Museum of Contemporary art of Ethiopia. Film Installation. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
2015 Open Art Academy .Gallery Kit. Film Installation Trondheim, Norway
2015 Fiva International Video Art Festival, Museo del Libro y de la Lengua. Screening Buenos Aires, Argentina
2015 Haxan Film Festival, Omni Oakland Commons.Screening. Oakland, California
2015 Usurp Zone 5 Film Festival supported by BFI and Film London. Usurp Gallery. Film Installation. London, UK
2015 Gaze Film Series, Past Perfect Future Tense. Artists Television Access.Screening. San Francisco, California
2015 IVHAM15 Media Arts Festival. La Neomudejar de Atocha. Film Installation. Madrid, Spain
2014 Cinecity Film Festival. Brighton Museum and Art Gallery.Screening. Brighton, UK
2014 Art Experimenta Vol.8. Trispace Gallery.Screening. London, UK
2014 Fort Process Sound Art Festival. Film Installation. New Heaven, UK
2014 The Lavish Big Screen. Latitude Festival. Film Installation. Suffolk, UK
2014 University of Brighton. Film Installation. Brighton, UK

[1] The words are Rudolf Borchard’s in Epilegomena zu Dante, vol.i ( Berlin, 1923), pp.56-57,  quoted in Arcades Project [N1,8] (Walter Benjamin)