David Domingo, also known as Stanley Sunday or Davidson, was born in Valencia in 1973 and currently lives in Barcelona. Thanks to some 20 shorts, three features (including his personal vision of Disney’s Bambi and The Exorcist turned into a musical), numerous video clips for musicians on the independent scene (Fangoria, Hidrogenesse, Doble Pletina, Javiera Mena), wild live performances during screenings of his Super 8 and 16 mm films, and his mythical five-yearly fanzine “Un día en la vida de Jonas Mekas”, he has become an outstanding figure in Spanish underground film.
He started out using a camera and a VHS player to create a series of remakes, found footage films and stories filmed at home, featuring his sister and their grandmother, but soon switched to Super 8, the format that has produced most of his filmography.
In his films, Stanley Sunday gives free rein to his vivid imagination and expresses his fantastic personal universe in a delirious, iconoclastic stream of associations, using his particular imagery especially based on artefacts and icons of popular culture (trading card albums, superhero comics, cassettes, Disney films, Michael Jackson …), but also homoerotic imagery and a series of recurrent motives of clear sexual symbolism, like the phallic Frankfurt sausage that has become a kind of logo.
Combining images borrowed from classics or B movies with his own, and abstract moments with scenes featuring his favourite actors, David Domingo blows hierarchies and causal logic sky high to generate a stream of images of surprising, enigmatic associations that denote a comprehensive knowledge of the tradition of avant-garde and experimental film (Bruce Conner, Andy Warhol, Iván Zulueta, Kenneth Anger and the Kuchar brothers), to whom his work makes many references.
After a series of incursions into 16 mm, more recently David Domingo has thrown himself into tutorials of the most diverse digital programmes, allowing him to conquer new textures, effects and possibilities of layer upon layer and people his videos with 3D beings, then drawing back to his domestic realm.
As well as making their way round the underground circuit, his films have been shown at some of the foremost museums, arts centres and festivals in Spain, such as Xcèntric (CCCB) and Centre d’Art Santa Monica in Barcelona, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, the Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo and La Casa Encendida in Madrid, the Centro Galego de Artes da Imaxe and the S(8) Peripheral Film Festival in Coruña, the Sitges Film Festival and Cinema Jove de Valencia.
His first short, Súper 8 (1996), was chosen to form part of the travelling cycle “From Ecstasy to Rapture. 50 Years of Alternative Spanish Film”, organized by the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, and was shown at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Melbourne), Anthology Film Archives (New York), the National Gallery of Art (Washington DC), Tiff Cinematheque (Toronto), Pacific Cinematheque (Vancouver), the National Film Archive in Prague, the Jeu de Paume (Paris) and the Tate Modern (London), to name just a few venues. It now forms part of the Xcèntric Archive collection.
The works of David Domingo are structured a bit like memory, like a kind of impossible collage that simultaneously mixes past, present and future, reminding us that our attempts to impose a rational order are doomed to failure. In them, analogue and digital come together with unusual emphasis and an unbounded sense of humour. The use of Super 8 and 16 mm is mixed with stop motion (Desayunos y Meriendas, 2002), appropriationist visual and sound collage, an artisan handling of frames (Rayos y Centellas, 2004) and animation, with the subsequent addition of 3D (Cardinal Perplexogram, 2013), animated GIFs (Pianissimo, 2015) and the use of programmes such as Anime Studio Pro and Photospeak; no holds barred.
Like the methods used, the sources of inspiration and references are many and varied: everyday elements we would readily classify as kitsch, iconic images taken from the world of pop, cinema in all its forms—from the most classic (Disney Attraction Highlights Nº 1, 2009) to the most experimental (Película sudorosa, 2009)—and even television images. In his hands, an obsolete VHS player, cathode ray tube TV or a Super-8 camera ceases to be mere fetish clinging to nostalgia as a modus vivendi to become a pertinent, prescient and even inevitable means of expression.
True to James Joyce’s sentiment that the aim is not to write about unusual things, but to render ordinary things unusual, David Domingo films everyday objects and artefacts and gives them an unusual life using the stop-motion technique, turning the ordinary world around us into a fantastic world where the behaviour of objects has unforeseeable consequences. Domingo tends to dispense with words, as gestures, movements and sounds are more than adequate to produce the intended effect. Music, however, does play a vital part in his work. It is a body of work in which anything can happen: someone writes a postcard to Robocop, flowers speed up their blossoming process (Sound of the Sun, 2011), familiar objects that we tend to see as innocuous come to life, and we travel through space, where we come across cosmic dogs chasing frisbees.
In some of his more recent works or even music videos made for groups like Hidrogenesse and Fangoria, a kind of horror vacui takes over the screen (he is a self-confessed devotee of the concept of “padding”), accumulating layer upon layer of objects, actions, signifier and signified: it is all superposed simultaneously, causing chaos and harmony, a particular order and some bewilderment; like in a bottomless well of memes, 3D cut-outs and GIFs that prompt laughter, chosen at random (or maybe not) from that infinite source that is the Internet.
Marla Jacarilla (visual artist and writer)