Film review: Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival

THIS is a big year for Alchemy. Richard Ashrowan's artist filmmaking showcase will soon curate Rachel Maclean's exhibition at the Venice Biennale, but it kicked off its seventh annual film festival in Hawick with what's become one of its most innovative and accessible strands: a series of moving image installations in repurposed buildings across the town.

Various venues, Hawick ****

Among the most impressive is Isabella Pruska-Oldenhof’s In Medias Res at Towerdykeside. An immersive exploration of the impact of technology on representations of the body, it combines a photo-mosaic of Albrecht Dürer’s portrait of Adam and Eve with projected film, discordant sound and an EEG machine while at the Crown Buildings, Kathryn Ramey’s Enola Em Evael also uses 16mm film and sound to disruptive effect. It’s a confrontational response to the chaos of modern technological warfare.

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Much gentler is Jacques Perconte’s Buccleuch Chuch on the Kirk Burn at the recently closed-down Peter Scott knitwear factory. A glitch artist, Perconte has manipulated digital images of hundreds of storm-felled trees in the nearby Ettrick forest to create an abstract portrait of nature that’s pleasingly meditative.

Next door, Robbie Coleman and Jo Hodges’ new piece Thresholds (Proximity Distance and Loss) repurposes an older audio work entitled Lost Cosmonaut with a new black-and-white photographic survey of an abandoned Northumbrian village.