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PALOMAR (the film)

16mm color-timed film printed from color black and white reversal original, 2015

Color positive film printed from color-timed internegative printed from black and white original positive film. Shot Oct. 23, 1014 at Mt Wilson Observatory, 1:33–3:45 pm.

PALOMAR is a 16mm film approximately twelve minutes long, the film is a colored document of a partial solar eclipse viewable from Southern California on October 23, 2014.

The film takes its name from a 1982 novel by Italo Calvino, Mr Palomar. Calvino’s book consists short vignettes each organized according to a schematic distribution of three thematic areas resulting in of 27 chapters (3x3x3=27). In the index, Calvino explains there are “three kinds of experience and inquiry that, in varying proportions, are present in every part of the book. Those marked ‘1’ generally correspond to a visual experience…Those marked ‘2’ contain elements that are anthropological, or cultural in the broad sense…Those marked ‘3’ involve more speculative experience, concerning the cosmos, time, infinity, the relationship between the self and the world.’

I filmed the eclipse using an adapted amateur telescope from Mount Wilson near LA ( the site of the largest aperture telescope in the world until 1948, when it was over-taken by Palomar Observatory some 90 miles southeast in San Diego County).

Working with a Hollywood color timer, the professional who adjusts the light used in printing color film to affect the color of a final print, I made a color negative from the black and white positive (reversal) original. Each shot was colored according to the formal structure laid out in Calvino’s index, matching the numbers 1, 2, 3 with red, green, and blue light respectively. There are 33 shots in the film, one for each chapter plus seven shots at the end to represent the index.