Working predominantly in film, Amie Siegel’s work often traces cultural objects or materials across vast timescales and distances to uncover how they have attained value. The influence of gender, cinema, time, value and resources are constantly at play in her work. In arguably her most personal work, The Modernists (2010), an archive of informal yet posed photographs featuring a well dressed women standing by sculptures around the world is animated as a projection. The repetition drawing attention to the framing and fashion as well as the ‘objects’ both living and man made in the frame.
Black Moon (2010) is a 3-part installation, the centrepiece, a partial remaking of Louis Malle’s 1975 film of the same title. The dialogue free projection follows a group of armed women who wander the empty gardens of foreclosed properties, shifting in style and context the film does not fix on one genre but rather plays out a speculative science fiction narrative. A second pair of screens feature an original interview with Malle from 1975 where he discusses his film, Black Moon. The screen is placed at right angles to another that features a shot-for-shot remake with Siegel physically mirroring Malle’s speech and actions via a sly battle for authorship and an overt undermining of the gendered language of cinema. Alongside are a group of photographs, each featuring a large black void violently rupturing their composition and material. The images are printed from single frames where the editor will hole-punch the first frame of action for ease of splicing. These single frames were never destined to be seen and the photographic prints reveal voids that resemble lunar phases, bringing emotional and spiritual charge and physicality to the often-invisible medium of film.
Quarry (2015) follows the journey of raw marble from the world’s largest underground quarry in Vermont, to the smooth basins, tiles and kitchen countertops in yet to be built Manhattan showroom apartments. The film is a delicate study of extraction, as the heavy machinery and violent sounds of the mining give way to the ‘civilised and refined’ polish of the digitally rendered apartments. Siegel’s signature panning shots not only serve as a documentation of this process but draw attention to the off-screen interconnected players who influence the market of natural resources and luxury commodities.
Siegel’s methods of producing her work are often self-reflexive of the content they depict. Double Negative (2015) features two synchronised 16mm projections - one of iconic modernist architect Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye in Poissy, France, the other of the Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies in Canberra, Australia. The Institute’s building is an unauthorised black replica of the Villa Savoye. By choosing to screen the negative rather than positive of her films, Le Corbusier’s original pure white building appears black, and vice versa. Another colour HD video shows the archive of the Indigenous peoples held by the Canberra institution. This problematises the issue of image capturing even further. It is illegal to capture the image of Aboriginal Australians on camera, yet the archive features hours of video footage. Alongside this work is photographs of lakes close by to both buildings, by chance and good fortune swans live on both. While the Villa now acts as a museum to Le Corbusier in its own right, the Institute is now dedicated to digitising analogue ethnographic videos and objects from the past, the footage culminates in a shot detailing the digitisation of Siegel’s own projected film.
For more information visit the artist’s website.