Text for The Happy Hypocrite, Issue 7, Heat Island, edited by Mason Leaver-Yap, Book Works, UK, 2014

Soft Footage

The measurement for any image
begins at the film plane.
Focus is determined through
distance: measure of ground,
light and air; measure of
manner and agility; measure
of the optical path from
light to lens.

Mark the distance to the film
plane: of aerial image
(viewing chamber) to eye, and
of aerial image to lens.
Determine which rays of light
will be in focus. Invert
them. The margin becomes the
centre — not the viewfinder
intersecting a frame, but the
oscillation beyond it.

Mark the line suspended from
image to film plane. Measure
the part of the body in focus
— not an image of the body,
but a body for the image.
Transfer this measurement
to the lens.
Follow light through its
optical path until it enters
the lens. Mark the lens,
not the eye.
Any marks made to judge
distances will become the
mental map of this moment.

The eye will never meet the
accuracy of the lens. Muscles
of the eye will work
independently from mechanics,
pulling the image into focus
while the body remains soft
on the film plane.

The eye will see a focused
image where none exists. The
eye can hardly be trusted.

Soft footage. This means that
to dilate the temporal
moment, a returning arc
(lookback) will cause the
moment of the look that ends
gesture. Turning to salt or
stone. Halting movement. The
image is mortified, the image
is stuck in the throat.

Persistence of vision
requires the retina to see
links between images that
don’t exist, to arrange a
line of movement that isn’t
there, l’émouvoir. The margin
becomes the centre.

To keep an image out of
focus, mark the suspension
between inhale and exhale,
the intervening pause between
contracting heartbeats,
between sensation and
thought, between one thought
and the next, during the
inability to think. Dead
time. If I presume to know
you, I’ve killed you in
my presence.


Issue 7 of The Happy Hypocrite, Heat Island, guest edited by Mason Leaver-Yap

︎ Purchase from BookWorks UK

Always subject to change, invasion, adaptation, and enhancement, the body is our most essential material, our primary limit. Touch, meanwhile, is the body’s only unmediated form of acquiring embodied knowledge, constantly experiencing the texture of the present tense.

The Happy Hypocrite – Heat Island seeks to understand how our hands (as both digital and analogous devices) and our bodies physically traverse and negotiate knowledge. This issue comprises a temporary assembly of individuals who are acutely and intelligently aware that what we choose to do with our bodies, how we express it alone or with others, can provide valuable cultural openings and resistances to bodily regulation, whether self-imposed or via external legislation.

With contributions and new work by Park McArthur, Duncan Marquiss, Dena Yago, Elaine Cameron-Weir, Giuseppe Mistretta, Francis Sanzaro, Allison Gibbs, Will Holder, Mary Simpson, Charlotte Prodger, an interview concerning 'adjustment' between Anna McLauchlan and Gerry Kielty, and reprinted material by Paul Nash and Stow Print College, Glasgow.

The Happy Hypocrite – Heat Island, issue 7 is guest edited by Mason Leaver-Yap and published by Book Works in an edition of 1,000 copies; colour and black and white throughout, with scented paper insert; 96pp; soft cover; designed by APFEL (A Practice for Everyday Life); 230 mm x 165 mm