A dark room of my own
I escape the day, lock the studio door and set up the darkroom. Always alone, always at night.
Sudden, thick, tangible blackness. Red tinted edges get gradually revealed as my eyes adjust.
I memorise where things are and feel my way through the surfaces.
I recently had a dream of remembering a dream. Never happened to me before. I go through a
box-full of old 35mm negatives: holidays and birthdays, nights out, days at the sea, road trips, picnics and long walks.
Then I go through my phone to try printing from digital files too. Selfies and meals, events, artworks and museum rooms, screenshots, stills from films, pages from books. I make negatives on acetate and print on B&W.
Archiving? Remembering? Thinking of how I take a picture, make a picture. Looking for grain.
During the day, I scroll through articles and talks, watch films, follow links...(I click on a million a day). The darkroom removes me from the screen, keeps my hands busy and soothes my mind.
I stay up late at night, the rest of the building is empty. I can hear the distant motorway and the occasional alarm from the port.
“...what comes after the day of knowledge” half of a phrase floats in my head, quoted by a friend, from a book I can't recall the title of.
I’ve recently set up the studio as a DIY / temporary / precarious darkroom with old, inherited equipment and have been learning how to print on B&W paper. Something I've always wanted to do, but never made time for, as much for leisure and pleasure as for (part of / informing) my practice. I find value and consolation in this singular experience.
Maria Anastassiou is an artist / filmmaker based in London and Essex. She uses analogue and digital media in moving image, social practice and curatorial projects. Her work is informed by experimental ethnographic approaches to documentary and structuralist film traditions.