Anti-Hero? Qu’est Que C’est

A digitalization of familiar images can indeed jeopardize analogue elements remaining within those images. However, digitalization processes can contain their own seductively messy excesses. Within the ‘sweet transvestite’ production number from the camp classic Rocky Horror Show, David Frankovich focuses on ‘dirty frames,’ resulting from the 2:3 pulldown necessary into the conversion of 24 fps. film to 30 fps. video. (David Frankovich, residency proposal, Sept. 2009) The even and odd fields within these questionable frames originate from two different frames of film. Editors are required to at least minimalize these frames as they are prone to flickering and jittering, especially when frozen. However, in Sweet Interlaced Transvestite, Frankovich locates and then maximalizes these dirty frames. He considers them analogous to the space between hero and villain hosting the source film’s antagonist- Frank-N-Furter. What Frankovich calls ‘dirty frames’ could also be labelled ‘shaky frames.’ When he stretches the lengths of these single frames, the images begin to destabilize. Those who are cool and composed become visibly nervous, and those who are already nervous become hysterical. Dr. Frank-N-Furter induces the jitters by captivating his not unwilling guests in a space both seductive and terrifying, one between but not outside of the binaries of Male/Female, Gay/Straight, and Hero/Villain. The good doctor may well be an antagonist within the classic narrative structure of the camp classic source film, but then that’s merely narrative. And innocent lambs Brad and Janet have also been (further) destabilized and they’re simultaneously terrified and fascinated.

Andrew James Paterson