The Matter Propounded: Of Its Possibility Or Impossibility, Treated In Four Parts by David Gatten
David Gatten’s experimental film The Matter Propounded: Of Its Possibility Or Impossibility, Treated In Four Parts explores the ephemeral quality of text. Specifically, he displays the phrase ‘Remember the words that fly away; but the writing remains’ in filmic movement as the words appear and fade away. The playful contrast begins with our understanding of a voice that speaks: words are heard temporally, and then are retained as a memory only as the sound fades away. The written word, by contrast, normally remains on the page or on the surface upon which it is inscribed. Ironically here, the written word is what ‘flies away’; the flickering light of time is how we see… In the materiality of 16mm film, the celluloid and projection have an intentional ‘handmade’ quality; the viewer is intended to remain aware of the material aspect of this medium, not to see it ‘disappear’ as one does in a cinema watching a Hollywood film. Materiality – and the hand of the artist – remain visible in this matter (material) which has been put forward for our consideration.
For over fifteen years David Gatten's films have explored intersections of printed word and moving image, while investigating shifting vocabularies of experience and representation within intimate spaces and historical documents. Through traditional research methods and non-traditional film processes, the films trace the contours of private lives and public histories, combining elements of philosophy, biography and poetry with experiments in cinematic forms and narrative structures.