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Inscriptions of Light and The ‘Calligraphy of Decay’: Volatile Representation in Bill Morrison’s Decasia

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Chapter Summary

Bill Morrison’s Decasia combines found-footage on decaying pre-1950s nitrate celluloid film stock with Michael Gordon’s dissonant ‘Symphony of Decay’. In compiling highly disparate and fragmented imagery, Decasia samples an array of rationales for its construction. However, the film derives its overall coherence from the local effects that are created by the recurring play of representation and its dissolution. Decasia thus unifies its disparate elements around the inherent volatility and materiality of representation in the cinematic ready-mades it employs.



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