Abidings (film series, 2019-2020) are short experimental films by Ugo Petronin.

Abidings are an ongoing series of short experimental films each made of a single 35mm color photograph. The films are exposed manually with a shutterless camera which allows the light to flow continuously on the sensitive surface. Departing from the assumption that a dominant form of photography was established on a solid and discontinuous logic, this work explored the implementation of a photo-filmic logic based on fluidity and continuity. This was approached by highlighting and modifying the elements which enact the fragmentation in the camera mechanism. As a result, the interstitial space between frames was erased by dismantling the shutter and the intermittent mechanism of the camera. The flowing of light in the camera afforded by the removal of the shutter, dissolved the space between frames and grouped images on the film surface. In addition, the movement of the film contributed in the creation of a type of syntax based on the continual linking up of frames. On a technical level, this assimilation of frames is pertinent to describe the illusion of continuity produced by the strip-photography technique. On a metaphorical level, assimilation sends us back into imaginaries ruled by the dynamics of waters and fluids.

Furthermore, this particular photo-filmic method promted Petronin to reconsider the performative dimension in the act of exposure. The instantaneous gestures - usually performed by pressing the releaser - are abandoned here for a circular gesture which unrolled the film continuously in front of the aperture. This action - specific to strip-photography techniques - offers an opportunity to change the type of mediation enacted in the construction of the image. The act of exposure become a time and a space where the image is negotiated between the different agents, the light, the body, the mechanism, the environment and the artist’s intentions. Abidings are images persisting and enduring through time, hybrid testimonies of a corporeal involvement in the process of exposure. They are gestures of opening - on the material and conceptual sense - characteristic of a broader artistic approach which include exposition as a dialogical method: to expose, to be exposed.

The films are driven by Petronin's interest in the interrelationships between techniques, gestures and metaphors, and stem from his exploration of fluidity and continuity in cinematographic processes. They are in line with his previous work Abiding (2019, Eye Film Museum), but the animation, resolution and the depth of colors have been improved. The films are unreleased, but some parts and a presentation of the research process are presented in March 2021 in collaboration with V2_ Lab for the Unstable Media in Rotterdam.

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