A teacher introduced me to Survival Research Laboratory's work through a series of videos he'd found on youtube. They were all incredibly low resolution, and the frame rate was inconsistent; the video buffered many times during our viewing. It was during the buffering that I noticed how weird the frame of the video was out of context. This sent me down a rabbit hole of youtube videos of art installations, drone strikes, wild fires, and first responder safety trainings, all in search of images that could be decontextualized.
This interest was in large part inspired by Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel's pivotal 1977 photo book Evidence. For this project, Sultan and Mandel sifted through thousands of images in many government and institutional archives, looking for images that could be re-contextualized.
What Had Happened. is a multimedia sculpture that works with these themes of image making and re-contextualization. A jury rigged motor rotates a roll of black and white film with 32 images on it. These images were digital screenshots, displayed on a tv and then reshot on film. The film runs through a microscopic video processor that is connected to a transmitter atop the locker. The transmitter sends the video through radio signals which are picked up by the handheld antenna TV. The motor also runs a a dismantled cassette tape player that plays a slowed down version of a Tchaikovsky tape.