Adam Chodzko’s Plan for a Spell proceeds from a simple but disarming premise. After gathering a disparate array of contemporary and archive material from far-flung places across Britain, Chodzko avails himself of the recombinant potential of digital technology to play the various chapters of the resulting DVD (moving images, soundtracks, subtitles) in totally random sequence, so that his bubbling witches’ brew of mysterious, eccentric footage (archaic rituals and folk ceremonies, glimpses of hallowed or haunted sites) is mashed-up even further by being presented in infinite, ever-changing permutations. As if shuffling the deck of an esoteric Tarot pack, or unravelling the principles of a secret, hermetic code, Chodzko’s already portentous imagery acquires a heightened significance with his hint that, in one of these myriad combinations, the original elements will re-align, and a deeper meaning will be revealed. This playful conceptual conceit lends the different components of the piece an equal weight of expectation; investing the humdrum and the arcane alike with a presentiment of magic, and reminding us, if we care to look, of the beauty, and the strangeness, of the world around us.
Read Chris Darke's essay Portrait of the Artist as a Dust Wrangler, from the 2002 catalogue for Plan for a Spell.