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Everyday Alchemy - by Natalie Blom

Installation: May 4th - 19th, 12pm - 8pm
Metro West, 47 Paisley Street, Footscray

Everyday Alchemy x Sleepless Footscray is the latest iteration of the ongoing experimental analogue photographic project by West Australian born artist, Natalie Blom. The title of the show plays on the idea of alchemy: the transmutation of elements. Like alchemy, the film soak method used by the artist is largely experimental and perhaps also hints at the mystical.

Using the destructive film soak technique, which involves soaking photographic film still in the canister in various liquids resulting in changes to the chemistry on the surface of the film. The artist returned to this process during the COVID19 pandemic as a playful way to utilise materials found within her home and to escape from the monotony of looking at the same limited locations during lockdowns.

With images shot especially for the Sleepless Footscray Festival, the visual motifs of Footscray and the West are expressed through images of familiar buildings and scenes. Bringing those ties even more deeply, the materials used in the film soaking itself are also evocative of Footscray. Phở broth, Ethiopian coffee and water collected from the Maribyrnong are all employed to cause both physical and chemical interventions onto the surface of the film.

Including numerous photographic prints hung in a salon style linking back to the meandering nature of process-lead art making, the exhibition also includes a number of short video works and a sculptural installation, which is a nod to the mystical aspects of alchemy. In this fourth iteration of this series, the expanded works literally span the walls of the gallery, using large format plotter prints to engulf the viewer in textural details of a photographic emulsion petri dish.

Visit the exhibition to explore these photographic works in detail and see photography and Footscray like never before.

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