Photographed identically in conformity with fixed image specifications, the image source for Horse is an annual publication advertising racehorses for stud. Looped in the order of their appearance from the first publication in 1984 through to when the ‘Stallion Annual’ changed format in 2001, the film represents an accelerated genetic history of the racehorse. These ‘still’ films are anything but still. In standard analogue cinema projection, the illusion of spatial continuity and impression of motion is created by the frame rate of 24 per second with an incremental difference between frames. No such relation exists between the frames of these films as individual frame differs, which leaves the viewer blind to any comprehensive narrative.
As human eyes and brain can process up to 10-12 separate images per second, the fast paced disparate images in these films create a spectacle of discontinuity. Gradually, however, after yielding to the immersive experience, the intensity begins to settle into a dream-like space of estranged after-images; each viewing and repeat viewing rewards a different experience.
The experience of the isolated images in the films and those of the collages and image fragments that Stezaker is known for are a lot closer than one would expect. Speed and stillness seem in this respect to be different ways of withdrawing the film images from its narrative legibility and temporality.