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"'Mickey' began as an explosive, 35 mm silver-nitrate film (circa 1918) found in an abandoned underground cinema in the New Mexico high-desert on the site of a mine.
A Western, 'Mickey' is a classic tale of home, and a life in the West destroyed by invisible, merciless hands of greed, Capital. As a Western, the film is unique in its depiction of the high Gilded Age, New York, the 1% banking class. Providing distance from contemporary neoliberalism, the film provides a mechanism to consider enduring desires for home, rootedness, and the precarious interrelationships wrought through Capitalism."

Ethan RAFAL selected some pictures for this small sized book because it fitts with its capitalism critic to his last publication 'Some Awe' and his upcoming book whjich will be presented at coming Paris Photo event 'POLYCOPIES'.

"Mickey, or: Never Yell Fire in a Burning Theatre

'Mickey' is not the title of this film. But it works for the purposes of this book.
The film was found in 2015. New Mexico. The high desert. A theatre on the site of an abandoned mine. The theatre - recreation for the workers - was carved into the side of the mountain — in case of an explosion, this would contain the fire. Explosions were common when projecting Silver Nitrate.

The film was printed in 1918. A positive, this was the film you watched in the theatre, via hand-crank projector and live musical accompaniment. 
The decay pattern on the film is the result of 98 years of climate change — cycles of rain and drought are recorded, the silver melting from the surface, recollecting at the center.

When the film was found it looked like a dried cow paddy. It crumbled when you handled it. I took it back to my studio in San Francisco expecting nothing but a paper weight. One year later, though, I noticed that the cover of the reel was askew. The film was unraveling — through a slow process of humidity, the Bay Area Fog, Magic, Physics. Your guess is as good as mine. 

The result - Mickey - is an unintentional, psychedelic Western, 100 years in the making. While it is a Western, it breaks with the genre: it depicts New York City. End of the 19th century. Wall Street. Robber Barons. The timeless, invisible forces that destroy home. The Gilded-Age — the last moment of great inequality in American life. 

In case you missed the plot: Mickey is an orphan. She has been sent to live on a homestead, a mine. Her foster father has had enough. She is going to be orphaned once more! But, as revealed at the end, the mine itself is being foreclosed. Mickey, her sketchy foster father, and Minnie, are all set to lose their home. Their quotidian struggles are sidetracked as seismic, structural forces disrupt the equation. 

Precarious housing. Precarious Labor. Precarious society. Sound familiar? The critique in the film is eerily relevant, fit for a society with a perennial addiction to inequality, self-destruction. I can’t ignore the timelessness — not just the themes, but the collapsed proximity between the image and the real world. The film depicts a homestead mine facing foreclosure. The reel was found on a mine, which fell to the same forces, the same precarious economy.

The film tells both the depicted story, and the story of the real world, happening around it — the forces of economy, and climate, rendered over a century. While these forces have severely altered the surface, they ultimately double the original meaning of the image." (Ethan RAFAL)