Between the Bullet and the Hole’ is an artist’s film that draws out the complexities of women’s roles in ballistic research and early computing in World War II.
At a glance
- ‘Between the Bullet and the Hole’ is an artist’s film that draws out the complexities of women’s roles in ballistic research and early computing in the period of World War II.
- The work featured new and archival high-speed bullet photography, schlieren and electric spark imagery, bullet soundwave imagery, forensic ballistic photography, punch cards, computer diagrams, and a soundtrack by Scanner.
Rather than address the visual representation of women, this film aimed to understand their research process, using the trope of interpolation as an editing technique as well as a subject matter. Interpolation – the main task of the women studying ballistics in WWII – is the estimation of missing data using only two known data points. This was echoed through the flickering perceptual mechanics of visual interpolation in the edit.
“Like a frantic animation storyboard, it explores the flickering space between the frames, testing the perceptual mechanics of visual interpolation, the possibility of reading or deciphering the gap between before and after,” reads the text accompanying the work’s exhibition at Fridman Gallery in New York.
In 2016, Fridman Gallery published a catalogue to accompany Satz’s solo show, Her Marks, a Measure, featuring texts and essays by Justine Ludwig, Erika Balsom and Omar Kholeif, exploring the critical and artistic implications of ‘Between the Bullet and the Hole’.
The film has been shown internationally to large audiences from the film and art worlds, and the general public, thus stimulating debate about women’s role in early computing. It is frequently shown in connection to exhibitions and events exploring ideas of speculative future, media archaeology, as well as the uneven trajectories of technological developments.
Transform: Lis Rhodes and Aura Satz, Tate Britain, 2014
“Through existing films and never-before-seen works in progress, Aura Satz and Lis Rhodes reveal their profound engagement with the materiality of film alongside themes of notation, experimentation and agency.”
22 September, 2014
7pm – 9pm
‘Her Marks, a Measure’, Dallas Contemporary, 2016
“’Her Marks, a Measure' is an exhibition exploring the role women's labour in astronomy and ballistics. In both these fields women made significant contributions to observation, data collection, and computation. Alongside the film Between the Bullet and the Hole, the show features Her Luminous Distance, a slide-based installation which uses a Blink Comparator, a device used by astronomers to detect small pattern differences between photographic plates by alternately switching between images, blinking back and forth between the two. The PROBLICOM (Projector Blink Comparator) was invented by amateur astronomer Ben Mayer, using two juxtaposed slide projectors and a rotating disc, alternately occulting the images at a stroboscopic pace. The accompanying binaural soundtrack is a pulsing rhythmic drone which plays on the perception of patterns.”
23rd Jan - 20 March 2016
An Evening Honouring Women in STEAM
January 22, 2016
'Between the Bullet and the Hole', The International Film Festival Rotterdam, 2016
During World War II, it was mostly women who - as human computers - did calculations for ballistic tests and early computers. Satz poses questions about visual aesthetics based on research into forensic tests, scientific test images and punch cards full of numerical data. Every projectile is an extension of the eye.
27 January – 7 February, 2016
'Aura Satz: Between the Bullet and the Hole' (Plus Other Shorts), Whitechapel Gallery, 2016
“Aura Satz presents the UK première of Between the Bullet and the Hole, her latest short film which examines the role of women in ballistic research, early computing and pattern perception in warfare.”
18 February, 2016, 7pm
‘Aura Satz: In and Out of Synch’, Gertrude Contemporary, 2016
“Aura Satz, a London-based artist, presents an exploration of the relationship between esoteric technologies and the human body. Over an evening of films and sound, Satz will demonstrate the connection between technology and the human body through notation systems, languages and codes.”
24 March, 2016
6:30pm – 8:30pm
'The future is already here - it's just not evenly distributed,' 20th Sydney Biennale, 2016
Curated by Stephanie Rosenthal
245 Wilson St Eveleigh (cnr. Codrington St), Redfern NSW
18 March – 6 June, 2016
‘Her Marks, a Measure’, Fridman Gallery, 2016
“Her Marks, a Measure, Aura Satz’s first exhibition in New York, explores the role of women's labor in the history of astronomy and ballistics. In both fields women made significant contributions to observation, data collection, and computation.”
October 1 - November 5, 2016
Launch of exhibition catalogue
1 October 2016
Conversation with Justine Ludwig, Senior Curator, Dallas Contemporary
Saturday, October 1
Screening of selected films
October 26, 7pm
November 2, 7pm
‘Between the Bullet and the Hole’, Experimenta, London Film Festival, BFI Southbank, 2016
“An aesthetic treatment based on the work of women who were the first ‘computers’ working on ballistic tests in World War II.”
9 October, 2016
‘Between the Bullet and the Hole (Plus Other Shorts)’, HOME Cinema, 2017
“Aura Satz presents a series of short films focusing on memory, notation, encryption and gender. Between the Bullet and the Hole investigates women working in the field of ballistic research, early computing and pattern perception in warfare, considering how we read the missing gaps between the bullet and the hole, perpetrator and victim, presence and absence.”
7 March, 2017, 6:25pm
'Open Space 2017: Re-envisioning the Future', NTT InterCommunication Center, 2017
“Inspired by her interest in the contributions of women in the fields of science, technology and labour that have been excluded from historical accounts, [Satz] creates her works based on related research. Her creative activities further include numerous collaborations with filmmakers and musicians.”
29 May, 2017 - 11 March, 2018
28 May, 2017, 4pm
'Machines of Loving Grace: Nat Castaneda, Aura Satz and Erica Scourti', High Line Art, 2018-19
“'Machines of Loving Grace' is an exhibition in video format featuring three artists who address contemporary and historical technologies, and humans' eerie and shifting relationships with them.”
8 October, 2018 – 2 January, 2019
Research methods & questions
The film questions how we read, interpolate or construct the gaps between bullet and hole, ones and zeros, perpetrator and victim, presence and absence.
The research involved exchanges with specialists such as the Cranfield University Forensics department, Forensic Firearms consultancy, the IWM, the ENIAC programmers project, and Forensic Scientists at Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office. This led to the creation of an expanded archive of sound samples, recordings, interviews, sketches and emails with all research advisors to the project, including the musician Robin Rimbaud (Scanner).
The work furthers the debate around gender and warfare, and problems of underrepresentation of women’s STEM achievements. A significant outcome was to stimulate debate around STEM subjects in relation to women, leading to an outreach event honoring women in STEM, as well as a workshop on the subject with local school children.
Reviews of the show led to the film being acquired by Arts Council Collection, and a companion piece on human computers and astronomy being acquired by the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.
Listed in British Council Film Directory and screened as part of Experimenta at British Film Institute http://film-directory.britishcouncil.org/between-the-bullet-and-the-hole
“In the artist talk introducing your solo exhibition at the John Hansard Gallery in Southampton, Aura, you invoked the idea of a ‘trembling line’ – the title of the show – or musical strings as two points of tension with a vibration in between, which you saw as an apt metaphor for a conversation or a collaboration.”
Gratza, A. 2016, ‘Seeing is Never Believing: Aura Satz and Lis Rhodes in conversation with Agnieszka Gratza’, Mousse
“Spanning film, sound, performance, and sculpture, Aura Satz’s historically anchored projects often celebrate the achievements and inventions of women. “Her Marks, a Measure,” Satz’s solo exhibition at Dallas Contemporary, presents two recent works—the dual slide projector installation Her Luminous Distance, 2014, and the film Between the Bullet and the Hole, 2015—which focus on women who compiled data as so-called human computers, enabling advances in astronomy and ballistics, respectively.”
Gratza, A. 2016, ‘Interviews: Aura Satz’, Artforum
“Many of [Satz’s] works combine… months of research and complex backstories, which often remain largely unappreciated by her audience.”
McNay, A. 2016, ‘Interview: Aura Satz’, Studio International
"For me,we are all in a process of perpetual transformation - our cells, our memories, our sense of self, history. Perpetual reincarnation/interpretation."
Rosenthal, S. 2016, ‘A conversation between Stephanie Rosenthal, Neha Choksi, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Lee Mingwei and Aura Satz’, The Future is Already Here - It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed, Sydney Biennale exhibition catalogue
“Aura Satz’s hypnotic film [explores] the connections between women’s suffrage and the arms industry (Between the Bullet and the Hole, 2015).”
Higgie, J. 2016, ‘Reviews: 20th Sydney Biennale’, Frieze
Could you describe the work that you will be presenting at the 20th Biennale of Sydney 2016 and the motivation and inspiration behind its creation?
Forrest, N. 2016, ‘20th Sydney Bienniale Q&A: Aura Satz’s ‘Bullet and the Hole’, Blouin Artinfo
Shortlisted for the EUROPEAN SHORTS Competition - New Horizons International Film Festival, Wroclaw, 2016
Acquisition by Arts Council England, 2018