Image by Radio Revolten International Festival of Radio Art, 2016
This website compiles documentation relating to Mary Stark's expanded cinema performance Film as Fabric. Videos, sound recordings, photographs, notes, and drawings show the development of the performance from 2013-2017, as well as field research and studio practice. The live work also resulted in three tape and record releases.
Stark is an experimental filmmaker with a background in textile practice based in Rossendale, Lancashire. Film as Fabric is an expanded cinema performance featuring relationships between textile practice and experimental filmmaking. It developed through numerous iterations, which were devised, and often performed, in former cotton mills in Manchester.
Film as Fabric showed analogue film as fabric and stitching as editing. It was informed by the process of making a garment: 16mm film was cut with dressmaking scissors; stitched; spliced into loops; projected; measured; and worn on the body. Amongst the mechanical noise of a sewing machine and multiple film projectors, fabric and stitch patterns transformed into moving images and optical sound. The performance summoned absent voices, obsolete industries and Stark's personal history. Film as Fabric took Annabel Nicolson’s Reel Time as a point of departure and aimed to recognise women’s labour, in particular their work in the cutting rooms of early cinema.
 Optical sound involves areas of light and dark in the soundtrack area of the filmstrip transforming into sound when film is projected. The soundtrack area runs the length of the filmstrip next to the frames, along the edge that does not have sprocket holes.