The First Ones

The First Ones, 2000
8 mm film

“In one of my early films, “The First Ones,” a group of schoolchildren in uniform sing the Turkish national anthem. Some of the children’s uniforms are blue, others red. Although the sound continues at a regular speed, the image is slowed down and oscillates. The film was projected on a screen in slow motion, and this in turn filmed on video. The image of the singing children recedes into darkness and lights up again continuously. Whenever the image lights up, it is as if the children literally sing themselves out of the shadows and back into the picture. The image starts to fade away, though not quite completely, ten times per second.

It shot on Super-8 film and transferred to video. I use Super-8 for its special qualities such as its graininess, colours, and the light shaking of the film as it travels through the camera. This is what gives it the quality of a home movie or a holiday film. It demands the same level of attention as when viewing a home movie. When I see an 8mm film I am automatically struck by the sensation of time flying by. Because it is primarily a medium for private use, it taps into the issues discussed earlier in this paper about the passage of time, the sense of loss and death.”

— Hatice Guleryuz