35mm nitrate film was the industry standard from the late 19th century through the early 1950s. The flammable nitrocellulose film base was used to make film stock more flexible. Given the inherent instability of nitrate film, projection booths were outfitted to resist fires but, inevitably, fires in theaters resulted in numerous deaths over the decades. The use of nitrate films in public screenings today is exceedingly rare, but Morrison’s re-use of scenes from the films brings them back to public light. In these short films, Morrison selects footage from nitrate reels that examine religion, science, and war, ultimately constructing a universe in which nothing is certain.
Beyond Zero 1914–1918
2014. USA. Directed by Bill Morrison. Music by Aleksandra Vrebalov. 39 min.
2013. USA. Directed by Bill Morrison. Music by Michael Gordon. 10 min.
Just Ancient Loops
2012. USA. Directed by Bill Morrison. Music by Michael Harrison. 26 min.
Program 75 min.