Window vinyl & E6 film, 4812 x 1800 mm
Phoenix Square, 4 Midland Street, Leicester, 12 April 2013 – April 2014
Extinction Event is a 12-month installation commissioned for the Phoenix cafe bar windows. It draws on an earlier archive project (Griffiths Cue-Dot Observatory, 2006-10) in which Dave Griffiths observed, collected and catalogued 1,900 cinema cue-dots from terrestrial TV broadcasts.
Cue dots are circular flashes of light at the outer edges of celluloid, with durations of 166 ms (or 4 frames). They indicate momentary voids – in time, space and narrative – as film projectionists perform changeovers between movie reels. Digitisation is gradually erasing cue dots from cinema history. Over its year-long installation, Phoenix visitors are invited to repeatedly examine Extinction Event, enacting the durational observation and speculation inherent to both astronomy and cinema. Viewers can bring their own magnifiers to investigate a map of tiny embedded cue-dot images. In navigating and optically uncompressing its details, they will observe light over time, in gestures that echo both space science and archival research. Dave Griffiths has drawn inspiration from a short residency with University of Leicester’s X-ray and Observational Astronomy Group, which studies radiation from distant gamma-ray bursts – among the most violent and epoch-changing events in the Universe.