As part of an ongoing investigation into the film industry’s interventions into the urban fabric of Toronto, Sam Cotter’s Day for Night examines the temporal and spatial substitutions that occur during a film shoot.
The exhibition’s title comes from the “day for night” cinematic techniques used to simulate a night scene while filming in daylight by underexposing and applying a blue tint to the scene. The effect was popularized in the cinema of the 1910s when film speeds were too slow to be effective at night, and continues to be used today primarily for stylistic reasons.
Through a series of photographs, installations, and video works, Cotter performs this effect on the equipment used in movie production (power cables, traffic pylons, etc…), and in doing so, refocuses the industry’s tradecraft on itself. In questioning the relationship between affect and special effect in a reflexive mediation on mediation, Cotter unfurls the fabricated suspension of disbelief integral to mainstream cinema and focuses attention toward decoding the camera’s gaze.