Film strip from Newsprint (1972) by Guy Sherwin
© Guy Sherwin; courtesy LUX

Guy Sherwin’s film Newsprint – from the Optical Sound Films series that was created without using a camera[1] – emphasizes the physical-material aspects of the film medium as an image and sound carrier. To produce Newsprint, Sherwin pasted printed newspaper onto blank 16mm film material, including the audio track. This newspaper film was then copied in a film laboratory and the audio track adjusted so that the sounding segments of the newspaper strips would run synchronously with the image when projected.

With Newsprint, Sherwin uses the physical act of pasting together film and newspaper in order to transform the static print product into a time-based sound film format. The original dimensions of the newspaper cuttings are maintained and, in being projected, are blown up immensely. Thus the film provides the viewer with a microscopic view of fragmented traces left on the printing plate. Above all, the characteristic dot screen patterns of newspaper images printed offset become visible. The projected scraps of writing cross the screen so quickly that it is scarcely possible to discern any meaning from them. Instead, we hear how the photoelectric cell “reads out” the letters and dot screen images of the printed newspaper strips, constituting, in a metaphorical sense, a transferal. Perception and media technique collide with a vengeance and the role of the newspaper as a mediator with a message to convey is abandoned in favor of the sensual tangibility of its manufacture when the different grid patterns formed by the newspaper images can be heard as a series of high tones buried in noise.

LUX Shacklewell Studios published a book and DVD on Sherwin’s work in 2007: Optical Sound Films (1971–2007).  


  • original Title: Newsprint
  • Date: 1972
  • Genre: Short film

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