Monday, 28 September 2009

De Magnete

Plunging into darkness, I entered Holy Trinity church on Saturday, walking in from bright sunlight to a blacked out nave, lit only by a dozen candles in the aisles. Ahead of me, a screen appeared as my pupils dilated to their maximum, to compensate for the low levels of illumination I was experiencing. Amidst cracking and buzzing sounds, I saw a woodland scene, as the camera panned around. (And I won't describe any more, as you need to see this for yourself.)

A short film by Kathleen Herbert was on show, "De Magnete" in celebration of Colchester's "father of electricity" William Gilberd, who was born in the town and buried in that church. "De Magnete" was Gilberd's publication on "electricus", a term he developed, and distinguished from magnetism.

Says Gilberd "The electric effluvia differ much from air, and as air is the earth's effluvium, so electric bodies have their own distinctive effluvia; and each peculiar effluvium has its own individual power of leading to union, its own movement to its origin, to its fount, and to the body emitting the effluvium." (From De Magnete.)

Was Herbert's film to be a documentary? Or would it be a Derek Jarman style "Jubilee", comparing a first Elizabethan thinker with a contemporary viewpoint? Or would it be Don Van Vliet's "Electricity" in the medium of film?

Catch it for yourself, and experience the spirit of nature and the elements, captured on video.

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