silt, a San Francisco-based media collective set up in 1990 by Jeff Warren, Keith Evans, and Christian Farrell, creates indoor and outdoor film performances and site specific installations using projection, mirrors, liquids, natural materials and their own bodies. The group operates as a kind of mobile laboratory, conducting perceptual experiments using ideas drawn from science, natural phenomena, and mysticism. They describe their investigation as a paranaturalist enquiry that, as they explain, “unlocks the organic dimension of film, blending its technological and mechanical aspects with a palpable sense of its connection to natural processes.”
silt’s performances involve multiple film projections, shadow interferences, objects and sounds. The prints are rusted, buried in the ground, consumed by mold and bacteria, and left to interact with the earth’s natural alchemical process, like fossilized relics. In performance, the projector beams lights up these organic morphologies, magnetic fields and bacteria, re-sampled in the mechanics of editing. silt operates the film projectors like DJs, physically “performing” with the equipment by introducing filters, shadows, organic material and their own bodies into the projections. Their visual riffs pulsate and metamorphose, creating a perceptual confusion between the film footage and their live interaction. In this merging of projections, objects, shadows and sounds, the boundaries between the real and the projected, the live and the recorded become confounded.
silt’s work has been shown at film and art spaces such as SF Moma, SF Cinematheque, and Cal Arts, among others. Their recent work, All Pieces of a River Shore was exhibited as part of the 2002 Whitney Biennial.