Inspector Specto

AFTER Artist’s residency at Plymouth Arts Centre

Studio One: Inspector Specto from Kayla Parker on Vimeo.

Plato’s Cave as the womb: unless I was breech, I would be upside down in the uterus, my head resting above the entrance to the cervix. It is not completely dark in here, there is a fibrous deep-orange-red glow, like a hollowed pumpkin lit from within. The glowing smooth rounded shape calls up Louise Bourgeois’ The Destruction of the Father (1974) which I saw at her Tate Modern retrospective in 2008. Let us eat him.

A curl of clementine peel, the outer skin punctured with a twisting scalpel blade, lying on a lightbox.

No keys: they’re lost. Suzanne on the arts centre reception desk lets us into Studio One. Reggae playing in the projection room above as Gavin gets ready for the early evening show. No wifi. Set up the Specto 16mm analysis projector and splice white leader onto the head and tail of the film strip. The room is dark. Nothing is visible but the enclosed void. I turn the controls to M: the projector whirs and clacks, a warm glow shines out from its interior, through the gaps in its metal casing; I turn the Bakelite dial clockwise to the next position: a window of murky light is thrown onto the white emulsion panel on the wall four feet away. Projected at 2 fps, the focus flexes as the ‘frame’ between the sprocket holes stops in the gate: one can see each individual knife cut, every tiny scratch and slice of the scalpel. The scarified image has depth and a tactile three dimensional quality. Document the set up in digital photographs and HD video.

15.58 Lights off and walk through the briny drizzle up the alleyway. Strange to have people living in what was once the Housing Advice Centre: an open plan apartment in the basement of Virginia House, a young man in a kitchen that came out of a catalogue; two young women siting in a settee in the ‘living room’ area. A greasy mackerel smell in the air: high tide. As we load up the car it starts to rain properly.

Tell Suzanne that I’ve switched off the lights to Studio One: Simon had the keys at home.