At the centre of the two films exhibited by Vincent Ceraudo in ‘Good Morning Midnight’ is an intuited connection between the projected cinematic image, and the phenomenon of the Out of Body Experience (OBE). Screened using a 35mm projector – a device whose hulking presence serves as a reminder of the physicality of Ceraudo’s medium – the first film in the artist’s presentation shows him lying motionless on his studio floor. Passing slowly over his prone form, the camera takes in details (the dusty soles of his shoes, the bristling hairs on his arms, the pale domes of his closed eyelids), and then moves out into the studio space, glimpsing window frames and computer equipment, camera tripods and houseplants, a world of mute, semi-abstracted objects sound-tracked only by the projector’s clatters and whirrs. It is as though the artist had attempted to recreate Bruce Nauman’s performance work Failing to Levitate in the Studio (1966), and instead found that his spirit had slipped the bounds of his body, and gone for a walk.
Screened using an HD beamer – the 35mm projector’s svelte, digital descendent – Ceraudo’s second film, The Projectionist (2018), takes as its departure point the mysterious figure of Marcel Forhan, also known by his pseudonym ‘Yram’. An engineer, Forhan was sent to Shanghai in the early 20th century, to install radio antennae and a tram network in the Chinese city’s French Concession, an extraterritorial (indeed, quasi-colonial) French enclave established in 1849. On first testing out his new tramcars, Forhan experienced what he understood as an episode of out of body travel. Mastering this new ability over the next twelve years, he would eventually use it, as he claimed in his book Practical Astral Projection (1925), to ‘penetrate […] to the extreme boundary of the universe’. Ceraudo’s interest in Forhan stems from the fact that his apparently superhuman powers manifested during a period in which he was working with electrical devices. As the artist has noted, the Chinese word for movie, ‘dianying’, may be literally translated as ‘electric shadows’, a phrase that suggests the confluence of technology and occultism that characterises both Forhan’s OBEs, and the focus of Ceraudo’s ongoing research.
Shot on location in Shanghai’s Chedun Film Park – a vast series of film sets, which includes a scale replica of old areas of the French Concession – The Projectionist might be understood as a meditation on a city and its cinematic double, which takes in histories of colonialism and modernity, as well as China’s current global ascent. Watching the rushes in Ceraudo’s studio (the film, at the time of writing, is still in post-production), I saw footage shot by a drone, swooping low and steady over ersatz streets, like a disembodied consciousness – another example, perhaps, of the artist’s fascination with the ghost in the machine.

Tom Morton