SPECTRAL stands for Spatial, Performative & Expanded Cinematics - Transnational Research at Artist-run Labs.

SPECTRAL gathers six labs run by artists dedicated to analogue film practices with an experimental and DIY approach. The practices include research, curation, invention, empirical engineering, and construction in a non-hierarchical way. We share a common enthusiasm for experimental cinema and its history, from the pioneers who invented moving image, to avant-garde and underground film and cross-media practices.

We would like to bring this heritage to new places and intertwine expanded cinematic arts with other disciplines. Collectively we use the term Expanded Cinematic Arts (E.C.A.) referring to the range of practices that we aim to encourage and develop, creating overlapping areas between film labs and a variety of contexts and aesthetic concerns. For SPECTRAL, we draw inspiration from ancient projection rituals such as Asian shadow theater, magic lanterns, and phantasmagorias, as well as contemporary visual and performance arts.

Historic references will be mobilized to invent new forms of art through photo-mechanical projection, performative practices, hybrid technology and research. Through the creation and circulation of E.C.A., SPECTRAL promotes plurality and creates sensory experiences based on exchange and communication. Furthermore, SPECTRAL aims to develop new structures and tools for E.C.A. challenging traditional circuits of moving image creation and distribution.

Each participating lab will offer a program of residencies. Equipment no longer used on an industrial scale will be enhanced and new devices created. To encourage the expansion of technical knowledge we will hold workshops both on the use of newly developed devices, and on broader E.C.A. techniques. We will also exhibit new works within festivals, events, and touring programs in each of the lab’s regional networks.

Throughout the entire project, special attention will be paid to reaching out to people from other disciplines as well as artists from under-represented communities in different parts of the world to help them attend the events.

The project also involves the important work of documentation. It will consist of technical information surrounding the production of new devices, video documentation of resulting performances, reports of each workshop, and diverse media such as text, photography, interviews, and sketches, forming a vast E.C.A archive. These elements will be gathered online through a collaborative wiki and in a final print publication.

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Spectral logo and graphic identity by Pedro Nora.
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Landing page picture by Terekas at Baltic Analog Lab Summer School in 2022.