James Holcombe/Adam Asnan
Ley Farm (2002–9) is an expanded cinematic performance
for four carousel slide projectors with timers, and front
or back projected screen of variable dimensions. It was
premiered at no.w.here, London, in October 2009 as part of
its Light Reading series.
The visual aspects of this work use single frame extractions
of colour Super 8 footage depicting Ley Farm in Lancashire,
England — a place I have known and visited for over 30 years.
The film concentrates on areas where light is scarce or absent
(barns, outbuildings, stables), and particular details of the
environment; spiders webs, peeling paint, worn curtains
nailed over a window, water troughs and detritus.
The film was hand processed and solarised, a technique which
turns the dark areas of an image into masses of gold grain,
whilst retaining a recognisable photographic impression of
the source. This effect in the original footage is random and
flickers in time with the reel on which it was processed.
The most interesting frames from the footage (there being
18 frames per second, the minimum required to create the
illusion of real-time motion) were selected and transferred
to 35mm slides, to be shown by the carousel projectors as
greatly reduced, alternating sequences. Through this, the
illusion of natural motion is almost entirely subverted, where
each individual image/frame is relieved from the confines
of the animation it serves to reconstruct, and may now be
considered for its free-standing photographic qualities.
The sounds for the work were recorded on location over a
single weekend in May 2009, using a DIY hydrophone and
contact mics, mid-’90s computer keyboard microphone and
a Zoom H2 recorder. The sound material was then handed
over to Adam Asnan to arrange and mix, ready for present-
ation. The sounds of the location, being that they consist of
a wide range of phenomena and techniques, substitute for
the absence of natural atmosphere and temporality in the
images; of the living-breathing character of the environment.
This accentuates the subverted motion of the image via an
array of aural scenes that retain, even assert, their natural
motion by contrast.
Edition of 50 copies
Out of print
Still from Ley Farm, 2009
James Holcombe and Adam Asnan’s Ley Farm is the sound-
track to a film of the same name, a multi-projector work
about a farm in Lancashire. Divorced from the visuals,
the soundtrack is episodic at best. Longueurs — quotidian
rustling and crackling, the hum of motorway traffic, various
gates creaking — outweigh other, more inviting passages
of spooky creaking and constricted breath.
Nick Cain in The Wire