Saturday, December 30, 2006


a work in progress with dancer Kathy Cogill that has documented her as a performer, getting pregnant and performing with her baby, Clara. Kathy has been dressed as Wonder Woman for two years, and this is another patchwork docu/drama assembling scraps of video memory into fiction. Desconacida means 'unknown'....

Sunday, December 17, 2006

strange eyes

Experimental filmmaking seems like its only referred to as a formalist category of film, something that only relates to the material of film. So few people are looking for a way of communicating images of different qualities seen in a sequence over time that transcends narrative language. It is higher and lower than narrative at the same time. It is like intuition versus thinking. The camera can be used to look at what is below the surface. Turn the camera on without setting it and focussing it. It is a mode of seeing, by being fixed in its mechanics, that enables our perception to stretch and seek. As in individuals that are in trouble or insane, the frame is not lined up or focussed, but it is still the frame of reference. The art of experimentation is to give value to the world outside the conventional mode of expectation.
Improvised video cameras give us a shifting perception of the room we are all in. We see something abstract and then may realise that it is simply part of something familiar. But that is not the total aim, familiarity. Familiarity is when the mind stops seeking for itself, the soul is not stimulated, it dies.

Monday, November 27, 2006

IMPROLAB Transparencies

The Improlab team plus Ami Yoshide and Sachico M (Japan) finally made two nights of improvised performance at the Studio, Sydney Opera House. The Studio is a tough and unadventurous space, and hard place to find inpiration. Each night we ran two sections of about 40 minutes each. After the first night I was completely drained and after the second I was rushed into a speedy bump out. Our rehearsals were much better than the shows. But the audiences were as expected - half bored out of their minds and the other half totally enthused. Overall I think its the most genuine and rewarding artform anyone could hope to participate in.
Realtime Arts Review:

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Australian Dance Awards

Astoundingly Nun's Night Out seems to have won Best Australian Dance film for 2006. I didn't go because of the bizzare context but I'm very thankful to Julie-Anne Long, Erin Brannigan and Amanda Card from Onextra for helping it rise to the surface. I still don't know how it all happened. But anyway, Yee haw!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


At a 'Critical Path' Residency, NSW, Belgian Dance Filmmaker, Thierry de Mey, hosted a workshop for ten Sydney dance filmmakers. I decided to continue working on a project, "Simulated Rapture" which I began in Europe in January '06. The film features four of Sydney's most interesting independent dancer/performers; Martin del Amo, Lizzie Thompson, Brain Fuata, Rosie Dennis and sound by Gail Priest. It is a dual-screen installation in which the performers relate to each other through distorted reflection and paradoxical association. Thierry de Mey's past work with choreographer Anna Therese De Keersmaeker and his multi-screen works influenced the structure and editing of this piece.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


The dance film, Pod with Narelle Benjamin and Sydney Dance Company is nearly finished almost a year after it was first shot at the Wharf. We have been juggling a series of graphic templates of nature to demonstrate the transformation of a body through seasonal and environmental change. The Sydney Dance Company dancers are transformed into elements of a microscopic world born from water and evolve through physical and chemical interaction with natural environments and forms.
Choreography and Concept Narelle Benjamin
Videography, Editing, Compositing and Online Effects Samuel James
'New Moon' Composed and Performed by Melisande Wright
Sound Design Huey Benjamin
Produced by Huey Benjamin
Screened: VideoDansa Barcelona 2007, Dança em Foco Rio de Janiero 2007, Cinedans Amsterdam, POOL 07 Tansfilm Wetbewerb Berlin

Saturday, July 15, 2006


At Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, De Quincey Company is making new developments of 'Improlab'. It is an artist residency supported by PICA and the Inter-Arts Fund. Tess de Quincey (dance), Amanda Stewart (vocals), and Jim Denley (wind instruments) with Sam James (live camera projections). There will be unofficial showings of the work at Club Zho and PICA. My work with Improlab is a re-visitation using live camera in performance, working without digital manipulation or any preconceived strategies in image making, except to intimately and intuitively mediate responses to sound, space and live bodies and resonate, as an equal and non-dominating element of live art. This could potentially be used as material to make dance films. I am scalping rough shoots off the wall to hopefully make a filmic compilation out of these totally one-off occurrences.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

'Baby Jane'

In Performance Space and Theatre Kantanka's "The Boxed Set" a collection of performance works in a shipping container, Julie-Anne Long with video artist Sam James created 'Boxing Baby Jane', a new media dance work of mother dancing with her projected child. (Live Bait Festival, Bondi Pavillion 2005)

Bryoni Tresise RealTime Review:
"Womanhood is given a different telling in Julie-Anne Long’s subtly satirical meditation on motherhood, Boxing Baby Jane. In
collaboration with video artist Samuel James, Long constructs a “duet for live mother and projected child” in which the figure of saintly mother is placed against footage of a very sickly-sweet disembodied girl child. In a series of projected sequences, Long interacts with the ‘fictitious’ child through a combination of abstract and literal choreographies, building a progressive antagonism that stems as much from the implied mother/daughter relationship as from the compositional difference their live and filmic bodies erect. James’ video montage merges realtime footage, still shots, film intertexts and animated sequences to form a suspended limbo of part-image, part-performance that creates a skewed multi-dimensionality, particularly in moments where mother and daughter ‘enter’ excerpts from 1960s psychological thrillers that recall haunted suburbia and sinister veneers of smiles and propriety. Yet it seems that these canonical films and James’ playful interventions are intended to work more suggestively than literally. As the house of their pas de deuxerupts into flames, both mother and daughter remain caught in past ideals of role and gender, living the frustrations and complexities of an obsessive relationship that has its cinematic 'boxing' incinerate around them."

Friday, June 16, 2006


Cult performance group Frumpus are developing black comic, New Media performance on infamous female murderers!
The 4 week Inter-Arts development being shown at
Performance Space. Multiple animated projections in sync
with live performance. Video animations Sam James. Live music and sound by
Rose Turtle-Ertler. 2nd-3rd July 2006

Saturday, June 03, 2006


Still from "Gossamer", dual projections at the Sydney Opera House with dancers from the Sydney Dance Company.

Teching at the Sydney Opera House, June 2006.
Sam James' immersive screen projections for 'Gossamer'.
Choreographer Narelle Benjamin, with the Sydney Dance Company.