Detroit Park (2005)
“The enormous carcass of the Michigan Theatre, a ruin among ruins, now serves as an inner-city car park and home for ghosts.
Every city is an archaeological layer cake of demolition, decay and scandalous erection. The rise and fall of commerce spurs the reincarnation of spaces. Movie palaces are converted into tabernacles. Churches deconsecrate and become shoe stores. Graveyards are excavated and the dead are disinterred. Parking lots bloom like weeds as plentiful as churchyards. These mutated spaces funnel faded glory, waste and buried treasure; the voices of the past and interstellar space speak in gibberish.” (MMcElhatten IFFR 2006)
ORCHARD 16mm sound 8 mins 2003
Much of the footage that comprises Orchard is of a 19c ruins that included a walled orchard in and area known as Rostellen in southwest Ireland. It is set deep in the woods and the crumbling brick and mortar of the broken walls has become the anchor for the roots of slender trees, so uninhibited for all this time that they reach twenty feet in height and have thick roots that follow like slow lazy trickles of water and in other places branch and wind over the brickwork in an apparently intelligent arterial arrangement reminiscent of the human body. Some footage of Central Park is in there, as well as Niagara Falls, the main Dublin-to-Cork road and a thin smoking woods on the outskirts of Rosslare, Co. Waterford
These are facts may be incidental to the film’s eventual form, which winds the images into an arrangement of continuous wandering. All this is attended by environmental whispering sounds until a voice calls out toward the end, in dream-bound recognition, to a figure from the impossibly distant past.
DELIQUIUM 16mm sound 15 mins 2003
King Lír’s second wife (sister of the deceased first) didn’t care much for the unusual closeness between the king and his children and so packed them off as swans to live out an impossible 1800 year life on freezing waters. This from an old Irish folk tale. Certain associated vexations, mulled on from the inside out during the making, bleed threadily into this film.
Hidden among the pounding of animal hides,
All tamped into maps, their shapes
Explicit replicate butterfly wings, lie the motives of Lír.
The king who paid improper attention to his children.
From that first fascination
And it’s lascivious gaze,
Came the gorged desire for substance,
Among the skins,
Nets, shadows and milk bottles
Pried from the stomachs of metal fish,
Steam, smoke and things that won’t stay,
Speared, dangled, measured, divined.
All dreamed through wallpaper,
Or dowsed from something they drowned in long ago.
Snowed in on either side,
Lír’s beloved children,
Begin their 800 year journey.
From lake to sea
A thousand more.
Rental: Canyon Cinema, USA
BEGAN TO WISH….. 16mm silent 5 mins 2003
The sea sucks the seed back into the ocean, the flowers fold like umbrellas, shoots recoil into hiding, in seeds that shrink. The plants accelerate their tremble and wobble and glass unbreaks all around them. Strawberries blanch and tomatoes grow pale. The father, leering, holds forth a flower and suddenly his smile fades to awful seriousness.
In an odd concentrated ritual the father and son carefully tip over all the flower pots, laying the plants to rest and it is in this end, around the time he figures the flowers are talking to him, that the son wishes his father had killed him.
UNTITLED (light) 16mm sound 5 mins 2002
“The film’s haunting images are accompanied by the continuous sound of a helicopter circling overhead, which at the close gives way to the distant sound of police sirens. The beams of light, which seem to emanate from above, could be confused with helicopter searchlights, a reading whose symbolic significance evokes both security and baleful scrutiny. These sounds, however, are not only immediately associated with the events of September 11; they have also become a ubiquitous presence in the urban sonic landscape. Murray reveals the subtle disconnect of sound and image only gradually, allowing conscious recognition to develop slowly in viewing the film.”
– Whitney Biennial 2004 catalogue Rental: Canyon Cinema, USA
Fl oz 16mm silent 8 mins 2002
A landscape portrait with moving camera. Niagara Falls and an Atlantic City motel pool. The abbreviation “fl oz” is reflective of huge differences in scale of water volume and shows in language what the film shows in pictures.
Rental: Canyon Cinema, USA
MICROMOTH (2000), 16mm, sound, 7 mins
A Bolex 16mm camera attached to the business end of a microscope facilitates the trawling of spaces shaped by small dead things among the tiny chambers somewhere between the naked eye and the mansions of molecules. Infinitely devisable focal planes denote the topography and tilt of here an insect limb, large and tortuous as a conifer, or there a thorax, brown as maple syrup, all of which repeatedly emerge and dissolve through the lens. These crumpled wings and hinged legs contribute to the compendium that make up the whole as the edges of these things prick the air en route to invisibility.
Rental: Canyon Cinema, USA
Otherrehto is a short digital video construct of re-agitated film frames of a roiling rorschach set to the rhythm of the rolling text of a small excerpt from S.T. Coleridge’s “night-conversations” in which he speculates upon the “force of suppressed Instincts stirring in the heart & bodily frame” of St. Theresa of Avila. All unfurling to voices risen in praise and the tuneful glissando of a record grinding to halt.