Caffenol Cafe is an analogue photography project using coffee to develop film within a café environment.
Photographs are taken within a specific cafe documenting the people who contribute to the unique culture of the place (the cafe staff, the regulars, the delivery drivers), as well as the physical space itself. The same coffee being sold to the customers is then used to hand process/develop the film in caffenol.
The development of the film takes place within the cafe, making the process visible and creating opportunities for further interactions within the space.
The negatives are hung to dry, then digitised to generate the final image. These will be hung as they are printed, so over the week the exhibited imagery will grow, and will then be made available to the willing participants at the end of the exhibition.
Chris will be based at Raglan Roast cafe on Abel Smith street from 9am-2pm Wednesday 11th to Friday 13th August. This project is part of a Chris' week long residency at Pyramid Club. Other events during that week include live handmade visual and sound performances on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th August.
Christopher Schmelz is an interdisciplinary artist and musician from Koputai/Port Chalmers who predominantly works with analog film and sound, in a performative and installation based practice. Chris has performed nationally and internationally as part of the long-running experimental film/expanded cinema group, Rubbish Film Unit, and as a musician performs with several Ōtepoti/Dunedin bands including Wet Specimen, Guardians and Wolfskull.
His most recent works continue his exploration of experimental film making (specifically with hand processing film) and expanded cinema, using the physical nature of celluloid film and its artifacts, to create site specific film installations and live film performance. 16mm film is shot and hand processed within the space, then physical film loops are installed making direct contact with the space via their projectors, which generate both the sonic and visual elements for these sculptural film works.
These works embrace the visual aesthetic usually associated with lack of film care and technical mistakes, playing with the sentimentalism that is commonly associated with celluloid film. The tactile nature of film allows for the exaggeration of these elements, and for the emphasis of hands-on DIY film making.
Many thanks to Creative NZ for supporting this project.