Last year, Tacita Dean received some bad news – Soho Film Laboratory (the last professional lab in the UK that printed 16mm film) had been taken over by an American conglomerate and was under orders to stop handling such film. The news came as she was planning her installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern.
She managed to find another lab in Amsterdam that was willing to print her future work, but continues to attack the film industry for abandoning analog prints in favour of digital. In a recent editorial in The Wrap website she makes the case that because of industry leaders' obsession with promoting digital technologies, companies and the labs dealing with analog film are on the way out, and that she may soon have great difficulty making and screening her film work.
In an earlier article published in the Guardian she wrote: “My relationship to film begins at the moment of shooting, and ends in the moment of projection. Along the way there are several stages of magical transformation that imbue the work with varying layers of intensity. This is why the film image is different from the digital image: it is not only emulsion versus pixels, or light versus electronics, but something deeper – something to do with poetry.”
Image: Tacita Dean's installation in the Tate Modern's Turbine Hall, October 2011-March 2012. Photograph from the Guardian