A Return to The Return to Reason (excerpt) from Sabine Gruffat on Vimeo.

A Return to The Return to Reason

Laser etched BW 35mm film, 2013.
Silent, RT: 2 min 56 seconds

Directed by: Sabine Gruffat

Produced by: Bill Brown and Sabine Gruffat

Film cleaning and cement splicing:

A Return to The Return to Reason is a tribute to Man Ray's 1923 film "Le Retour à La Raison" (A return to Reason), the first film to use his 'Rayograph' technique in which Man Ray exposed found objects onto film negative.

In this film the found object is Man Ray’s digitized film, the first Dada film. The “original” film was digitized with all its aged emulsions, scratches, and splices, then compiled into digital filmstrips. These filmstrips are used to output a dithered and inverted image that the laser engraver may etch onto black 35mm film leader. The film images are created as the laser engraver scratches away the emulsion on the black leader.

In this way, Man Ray’s spontaneous process becomes systematic. The laser engraver  allows for a degree of control that would be difficult to achieve by hand.

In these waning days of analog filmmaking, this film is an analog-digital hybrid that suggests an interesting process for a materialist approach to filmmaking in the digital era. The 35mm film leader is used in projection.