(Simon Starling, 2012, 28 min)
Produced in association with Modern Art, Oxford and the Radcliffe Observatory, Oxford, the film Black Drop unfolds in a 35mm editing suite as an editor tries to bring structure and understanding to a varied array of material including: footage made on location in Hawaii and Tahiti on the occasion of the June 2012 transit of Venus, archive material, and ultimately footage of himself editing. As the editor cuts and splices the complex narrative unfolds. The film tells the story of the relationship between astronomy, photography and the beginnings of moving image technology. Predicated on the idea that the 2012 transit may be the last to be recorded on celluloid (the next transit will occur in 2117), Black Drop tracks the development of the French astronomer, Jules Janssen’s innovative photographic revolver – a device that was designed to counter human error in timing the crucial moments of Venus’ contact with the edge of the sun, and was influential in the development of Etienne Jules Marey’s photographic rifle and the Lumiére Brother’s cinematograph.