Film prints in big metal reels have been traveling around for more than a century. Projectionists splice the reels of film together, repair the cracks on the prints and maintain the film’s quality. By 2013, films started to reveal themselves in tremendously different shapes and places, and vanished as film prints as they continued to exist in hard-drives, distributed in plastic tangerine cases. Films have become files; the tactile sensation they create in the audience has left its place into a sharp and restless feeling.
Films, on hard-drives, do not need masterful hands; the process of creating the light now is a mechanical act. The digital projector swallows the hard-drive in its rectangular mouth and the data inside immediately reaches the screen. The human element is almost removed from the process, and projectionists, who are the last link of the entertainment chain, sit back, reading their newspapers as they are slowly erased from the scene. Becoming aware of this transformation during my constant visits to the independent movie theatres both in Boston and Turkey gave me a strong urge to capture this process and document film projection as a dying phenomenon. By integrating my vigorous history with cinema, and photography’s power to translate an affective engagement, I decided to re-explore the film theatres by being immersed into the enchanting world of projection booths.
While having an alluring collective experience in front of the screen and creating fantasies together, often times I see a bright beam of light that flickers through the small glass window in front of the projection booth. Now that light blinds me with its lure, the dust settles deep under my skin, the loud noise of the projectors echoes through my body. Another layer unravels in my filmic experience and is enriched with the film history revealing itself in projection booths. I am in a moment where the past and present merge, witnessing and capturing a layer of history that is being erased.