Tuning the Sleeping Machine
A film by David Sherman
1996, 13 minutes, color/sound, 16mm

Distributed by: Canyon Cinema
2325 Third St. #338
San Francisco, CA 94107
Phone/FAX: 415-626-2255


Here, the process of film perception relies on equal parts optics, mechanics and chemistry; the experience of converging stories comes only with the specific channeling of these conditions. Tuning the Sleeping Machine suggests a psycho-physical cinema, an emulsive journey of hypnotic illusion that pulls at narrative expectation. Circulating forces of control suffuse our collective cinematic experience; this is a beautiful and daunting history.

Preface: In 1895 Sigmund Freud abandons hypnosis as a viable therapeutic practice, in favor of psychoanalysis. The same year the Lumier brothers present the first flickers of recreated life through motion pictures.

"Tuning the Sleepng Machine recalls our shared experience of late-night television in which lambent images emerge from the screen and turn strange as the percolate through our half-conscious thoughts and reveries. Found footage--scenes of the horific and supernatural recoil--becomes enmeshed in thick visual texture forged by optical printing. There are primal urges at work just below the threshold of recognition: a mesmerist exercises erotic control over an inocent girl, or maybe vise versa. In any event, Sherman manipulates his found objects not to demystify-as is the current rage-but to mine their ineffable mysteries."-Paul Arthur, Film Comment

Photography, processing & editing: David Sherman
Sound: David Sherman with Owen O'toole

Screened: 1997 Whitney Biennial; 1996 New York Film Festival; San Francisco International Film Festival; European Media Arts Festival, Osnabrück, Austria; VIPER, Lucerne, Switzerland; Total Mobile Home microCINEMA, San Francisco; Cork International Short Film Festival, Cork, Ireland; Pacific Film Archives, Berkeley; British Short Film Francisco Cinematheque; ATA, SF; Chicago Filmmakers; Univ. of Colorado Film Series, Boulder.