Subtitled Poetry: Robin Cracknell

"I'm sort of a collector but those tears meant nothing” is a shuffled line from “The Mirror” by Tarkovsky that can sum up the project “Subtitled Poetry” of a London-based photographer Robin Cracknell. In the series Robin acts as a sort of a collector, managing the beauty of accidents. With the help of algorithm he puts together random film stills and randomly shuffled fragments of subtitles from the same films. The result is a clash of the visual, textual and memorial (as our memories and impressions of the films arise). And these three together create a beautiful cinematic sensation on the verge between recognition and non-recognition, reality and dream
gleaming inside.

Robin Cracknell about the series:
This series of work is produced by printing film stills with random subtitles paired algorithmically.
Although I do make some minor aesthetic decisions, I consider this series 'machine-authored' as the pairings of text and image are decided via an algorithm and the resulting narrative within that photograph quite accidental.
I source films randomly. Usually international directors from the mid 20th century, primarily Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Soviet and French but not exclusively so. Some classics. Many obscure. I strip out the subtitles (srt file) and shuffle the dialogue into random sequences. I type the sentence fragments out on a manual typewriter in stanzas. I then take random stills from these films and pair them algorithmically with fragments of these stanzas.
I then print these stills and dialogue fragments together creating new narratives; e.g. an image from Bambi (USA,1942) coupled with dialogue from Dolls (Japan, 2002) creates a moment quite distinct from either story.

About Robin Cracknell:
Born in India and raised in America, Robin Cracknell currently lives and works in London, England. His work suggests notions of illumination and disintegration, ‘touching, not mastering’. Usually working with broken cameras and found materials, he has been widely exhibited with solo shows both in London and New York. A selection of his notebooks feature in Thames and Hudson’s ‘Photographers’ Sketchbooks’ and his ‘Childhood’ series features in their 2016 publication, ‘Family Photography Now’. His recent work involves machine-authored poetics; specifically, creating surreal narratives by overprinting film stills with algorithmically selected subtitles.

robincracknell.com/subtitled/

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