Strain Andromeda The
20 March 2020

Anne McGuire

at Close-Up Film Centre, London



As a project of complete appropriation, Anne McGuire’s Strain Andromeda The (1992, 126:00) exacts a methodology at home with the many processes and tests conducted by the scientists and physicians depicted within its source. Her version of The Andromeda Strain, Robert Wise’s adaptation (1971) of Michael Crichton’s novel (1969), reverses the film, every shot recut so that the last becomes the first, and the first becomes the last. The shots themselves play in forward moving time, their ordering does not. With the bindings of montage loosened, new threads emerge with unexpected connections as well as disorientations. In the unraveling of standardized narrative cohesion, the effect can be seen to emerge before the cause. McGuire’s version opens up the gaps in filmic syntax, releasing strains of narrative possibility.


Part of the screening series Its origins are indeterminate that examines the concept of ‘language-as-a-virus.’ As carriers of meaning, words and images are vulnerable to intervention and corruption. The works presented test and bend the limits of language, send out new versions of media to spread, and breakdown systems of controlling grammar.

The series continued at Whitechapel Gallery on March 17 with three programmes featuring an array of international artists.

Strain Andromeda The essay in programme guide available here.

Its origins are indeterminate is curated by Erik Martinson and is supported by the inaugural Stuart Croft Foundation Special Projects Award.

With thanks to: Video Data Bank.

Strain Andromeda The, Anne McGuire, 1992