about Emily Scaife

Urges in the undergrowth. Erupting fungal fantasies. Bursting botanicals…
The dust and desires of a tiny alternative universe.
Imagining the sensations of attraction and pleasure in insects,
and the seduction methods of the plants and fungi that beckon.

Emily Scaife feels great attraction to certain things like texture, colour, macro photography, shape and patterns in nature, and reggae music. Her projects usually begin with experiments into that. But she does find there’s this urge to always want to get closer and closer, almost “go inside” the subject matter — if it were possible. Along this line, she collects specimens and manipulate them with analogue photographic and mark-making techniques to create print and moving-image works. She also records and works with sound using similar processes to create audiovisual concoctions.

“One day, when photographing a flower’s most intimate parts, I thought how thrilling it must be for an insect to climb right through to the delicious nectar /pollen. I wondered how an insect experiences attraction and pleasure: how would it feel to be inside a bee’s brain?”

For her highly interpenetrating — both aurally and visually — film Attraction, Emily started with macro photography – projecting shapes and textures of the plants she captured on 35mm B&W film stock. She then colorised them via multiple exposures onto 16mm – sequencing the photos into moving rushes. Soundwise, Ben Bell — Horus Records — worked along with Emily to use her own SFX experiments — like a ‘telephone mic’ whose buzzing gets louder as you approach, like an insect getting closer to its target. Those recordings were fed to analog dubbing equipment machines to build rhythmic soundscapes – edited together with the visuals, before adding more Foleys on top to bring out specific movements and textures.


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