‘Film Without Film’

by Verena Dauerer

Vacant

Feb. 10-20

10-20 a Yokohama-based artist duo comprising siblings Yuka and Kentaro Shimura, like to explore the early days of film. In one of their previous works, “X-Ray Train,” they took CAT scans of a miniature model of a locomotive. It referenced the the Lumiere brothers’ 1885 “L’arrive d’un train a’ La Ciotat,” a pioneering silent movie of a steam train pulling into a station.

For their latest work, “Film without Film,” on display at Creative Fantasista festival in Harajuku, SHIMURABROS. has again appropriated technology for use in a different context. The two artists created tiny sculptures of various motifs used by the Russian experimental filmmaker Lev Kuleshov in a movie demonstrating his “Kuleshov effect” montage theory.

SHIMURABROS.’ sculptures, however, are generated using a 3-D steel printer. Three-dimensional printing — often used to manufacture product prototypes — usually generates objects by layering plastic powder with a laser. By using maraging (hardening) steel powder instead of plastic, however, 3-D printers can now produce extremely tough steel creations. SHIMURABROS. has embraced this new technology to create detailed miniature sculptures, which are being displayed on a thick, oval acrylic stand.

This, Yuka explains, represents a “transformation of movement and time from film into a three-dimensional material.”

The film reel takes the form of the transparent acrylic stand, and the motifs, extracted from the film narrative, sit on top of it as physical depictions. It’s an abstract film reel neatly stripped off its content, so to speak.

SHIMURABROS.’ favorite movie, the artists say, is the meditative science fiction “Solaris” by Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky; which makes us wonder how technology will meet art for their next work.

“Creative Fantasista” is showing at Vacant, 3-20-13 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku; admission free; open 1 p.m.-8 p.m. For more information, visit fantasista.creativecluster.jp