ranging from the anticipated—transforming city landscapes at night—to the unexpected: a revealing discussion and impromptu reversal of the roles of filmmaker and audience in an underpass.

It began in a dark alley. Outside the Portabello Film Festival in London, with a tiny projector that clipped onto my phone, I began performing experimental micro screenings of a work-in-progress. There I was in an alley, and people were attracted to my tiny projections like moths to light. I felt a certain vulnerability speaking with people at night, a feeling shared as people offered me their palms as the backdrop for my projections, committing themselves to holding something ephemeral for the duration of each screening. Some people said there was a real weight in the image, perhaps referring to the warmth of light. I was struck by the way the image itself became warmer when projected onto skin. Images moved across the viewer-participant’s lifelines, creating an intimate encounter that momentarily collapsed divisions between private and public space. Dialogue emerged from the raw, unfinished aspects of the film. Shared responsibility in the outcome of an experimental process created openness between myself/artist and the participants that would have been hard to create in a more traditional context. Projecting onto people’s palms is an ongoing project.

Bus passengers who sat waiting for a new driver to take over were shown films on our mobile phones. A great way to engage people quickly, these screenings were part of the Lost Journeys Travel Agency’s series of guerrilla projections and my own ongoing exploration of how to change power situations in media presentation and consumption.

I brought my pocket projector to the underpass just as the sun was going down, despite warnings that this was “not a safe place to go at night,” and encountered a group of teenage girls who were swearing at its entrance. I started playing a film, but questions and confusion about my intentions and the technology being used seemed ready to derail the screening. In response, I invited the girls to use my mobile phone to make short films of their own, projecting their stories right back on the spot. Audience became filmmaker and I became the audience. What began as a discussion about the technology being used evolved into a larger discussion about how films are distributed and consumed. Mass media tells us that people pirate films to “steal” but upon reflection it seemed to me that these girls and others like them are trying to live beyond their means—responding in their own way to the power dynamics of authorship and consumption that I’ve explored in my own work.