On Saturday March 1st I attended Professor Matt Soar’s talk and screening of his work at Counterpath Press and Gallery in Denver. His Presentation, titled Lost Leaders, seeks to investigate film leaders—the additional film/mylar leader at the head or tail of a film reel. Embedded in this material is data, which is handwritten, still image, moving image, magnetic audio track, optical audio track, etched, or inscribed in a number of manners. Such inscription correlates strongly with marginalia, evidenced in current thrift shop books and early modern manuscripts alike. More than anything, the process that Dr. Soar engages in is both elaborate and absorbing. Rather than just viewing the material, Dr. Soar participates with the production process—he hand processes his own film, then creates original work with his own creative stamp imprinted in order to learn the process of interacting with the medium. Dr. Soar literally puts his work under a microscope, investigating every facet of it.
Professor Soar engages with the content of this metadata, the formalisms, and ultimately the form of the data. While his work embraces such an understanding, it seems not to limit itself by such a specific reading—rather it helps to open up conversation on the film leader, a medium that is currently becoming “doubly ‘lost’” as it escapes both the audiences vision, and its obsolescence in the digital age.