Sam Nightingale


6 April – 18 June 2017

In Sam Nightingale’s multi-dimension work, Cinétracts (2017) produced for Spectral Ecologies, it is the history of cinema itself that provides the map for an engagement with the ecologies of the Mallee, ecologies which he suggests are social and material as well as environmental. Following the route taken by Nulty’s Pictures who ran a pioneering traveling cinema circuit across the Mallee from the 1930s to 50s, Nightingale visits the sites where the Nulty’s projected films (often powered from their Bedford van!). Rather than simply tracing or documenting the Nulty Family’s story, Nightingale attempts to re-enact the route taken by Nulty’s Pictures, engaging with and inhabiting the sites as they are now. The result is a series of large-scale photographs and videos that engage with these sites of cinema, and a process of searching for screens in the landscape.

Accompanying Cinétracts  are a series of photographic salt prints titled, A Crystalline World (2017). Salt printing is one of the oldest photographic printing methods, first used by Henry Fox Talbot in the early 19th Century in which paper is coated in a solution of salt and silver nitrate, which when exposed to the sun reacts to produce the photographic image. Nightingale has chosen to use this very material process in order to remind us of the various different processes behind the images that we see. Nightingale’s photographic salt prints therefore both picture the salt lakes in the Mallee and are produced using salt from the area; they are made from the subject that they represent.


Sam Nightingale is a London based artist whose work explores material and spectral sites, processes and infrastructures, particularly those of early cinema. His work, Islington’s Lost Cinemas (2012) engages with historical research as well as artistic enquiry to explore the lost sites of cinema in the London Borough of Islington through photography, moving image and a series of walks in which the artist and participants together re-imagine the sites of cinema. Other works, such as Parallax Shifts: In Search of Imagined Landscapes (2014) address the way in which cultural narrative and technologies of vision combine to produce a fictioning of site – a place that is both ‘real’ and ‘unreal’ at the same time.

Exhibition Documentation

Mildura Arts Centre, 2017

Sam Nightingale, Cinetracts (2017): detail
Installation view showing Sam Nightingale, Cinetracts (2017) and Spectres of the Mallee (2017) - on far wall
Polly Stanton, The Spectral Field (2017)
L: Polly Stanton, The Spectral Field, (2017) R: Sam Nightingale, Cinetracts (2017)
Sam Nightingale, Cinetracts (2017): detail
Sam Nightingale, A Crystalline World (2017): 3 photographic salt prints
Polly Stanton, The Spectral Field (2017)
Sam Nightingale, Story of a Picture Showman (2017): HD video




Spectral Ecologies is an exhibition of photography, sound and video that explores the landscape of the Mallee through the idea of the “cinematic”, by Sam Nightingale and Polly Stanton.


At a glance



Exhibition: 6 April – 18 June 2017

Mildura Arts Centre
Mildura, Victoria.