26 April - 9 June 2002


Plan for a Spell continued Chodzko’s fascination with the processes and affects of our imaginations and systems of belief. The video installation used a programme that randomly searched through contemporary ‘folk’ sites for the right combination of sequences that would create magic. Through this random process, the video projection and 3D sound generated itself, live.  If left on infinitely, all the possible configurations may never be played and so the spell may never be triggered  – or the magic may be released in the first few minutes.


Plan for a Spell continued Chodzko’s fascination with the processes of our imaginations and their effects on our culture. A seemingly random collection of the moving image documenting different events such as the Burry Man ritual in Scotland, wicker weaving in Cumbria, supporters fighting during a derby and pyres of slaughtered cattle, brought to the limelight the uncanny mysteries of human behaviour. Using a DVD encoded to randomly sort through these contemporary ‘folk’ sites, image, sound and text combine in a multitude of permutations, searching for the right combination of sequences that will cause the release of a spell. The viewer may chance upon the spell immediately or it may be infinitely deferred.

Its documentary feel, as a sequence of raw footage and archive images, didn’t fail to suggest the surreal element of community events and mass rituals. A mix of hypnotic intrigue and eerie humour exposes the power of collective fantasies and mass hysteria. With Chodzko’s Plan for a Spell, the mystical turned into the supernatural, the religious into the pagan while visitors waited for a dubious spell defying scepticism. The artist in the old vest of the shaman enforced a stream of thoughts in the viewers’ minds with text and sound as captions to the images, prompting ever-changing meanings and different moods: boredom, curiosity, horror, mystification.

Plan for a Spell was a Film and Video Umbrella Touring Exhibition commissioned in association with Mappin Art Gallery.  Supported by the National Touring Programme of the Arts Council of England.