When it comes to cinema, a mirror is rarely just a mirror. As one of the medium´s most ubiquitous and expressive symbolic objects, mirrors have long represented something greater than themselves — usually, when looked upon, some otherwise internalized or unsavory facet of a person´s psyche. With TEAL, Björn Kämmerer strips the mirror of its metaphoric trappings and, in the process, restores a bit of its practical magic.
As has become typical of the Vienna based filmmaker´s work, he does so in deceptively complex, even contradictory fashion. Shooting silently at 25 frames per second, Kämmerer trains his lens on a series of free falling mirrors whose burnished, teal-colored backsides face the camera as they drop vertically through the frame. Against an all-black backdrop, the mirrors fall at rhythmically timed intervals, crashing to the surface in fits of syncopated destruction. As each pane shatters, reflective shards erupt outward, catching brief hints of the surrounding studio lights before being swiftly folded into the film´s clipped montage. As in Kämmerer´s earlier Navigator, the modulating sense of depth and verticality produced by these contrasting elements creates optical patterns and illusions within the 35mm frame that slowly dissolve spatial coordinates by allowing the profilmic event to shape and reshape the viewer´s perception from moment to moment. A tautological consideration of space, disposability, and cinematic iconography (and as such a literal object lesson in repetition), TEAL re-calibrates the mind´s eye through the subtle application and disruption of familiar forms. (Jordan Cronk)