Cipher was shot at Wilton’s music Hall in Whitechapel, east London. Wilton’s was built in 1858 and was the first popular music hall to open in the east-end. After about 10 years of prosperity it went into decline and has been semi-derelict for many years. The building has never been altered or restored, and in its present state retains a fragile, evocative beauty.
The film registers the interior of Wilton’s in a series of tracking shots, leading you through the building before revealing an impossible snowfall. The snow was created digitally, confounding the presumed indexicality of the medium while offering a contrast to the dark, 19th century interior, and a parallel to the early days of film practice and the historical period of transition from Magician’s stage illusions, as popularised in venues like Wilton’s, to ‘magic’ films such as those of Georges Melies.
The original soundscore is by Scanner.
You can watch more films by Neil Wissink by visiting his Vimeo page.