Saturday, November 24, 2012

Structural/Materialist Film. Flickers. Rational & Irrational Interstices. Fluxus Films.

George Brecht, Entrance to Exit - 1965 (6 min)

I was thinking about frames after I watched this film: the white to grey to black film playing within the filmic (mostly) black space, then, there are black bars on the side of the filmic space, and finally, since I am watching on an older white MacBook, there is a white frame around the whole video reproduction (while viewing fullscreen). During the film, I was thinking of my films and how I am drawn to duration, however painful for the viewer. I also thought of two other themes: life to death, day to night.

George Maciunas, Artype - 1966 (3 min)

I first felt as though I was presented an eye, colourless, lidless, yet spastically blinking, then negating itself. There was the same static hiss throughout the whole film until the section of horizontal lines started. I turned my headphones up and the volume on my computer to better hear the pitch shifting, while watching its visual counterpart. 

Hollis Frampton, Snowblind - 1968 (5 min)

I am watching this film and being reminded of a blinding snowstorm and trying to drive through it. With the pull of focus, it seems Frampton was trying to create more depth or at least make the viewer refocus on each layer of the structure filmed. This pulling of the focus creates amazing textures on the film.

Hollis Frampton, Maxwell's Demon, 1968 (3 min)

This YouTube version clips the end of the film, since there is a section of the man running, interrupted by colour, that is silent (unlike the previous colour sections). I was wondering why there are two different men exercising, with jump cuts to colour, either solid or with "interference", and a buzzing tone (varying from one instance to up to three instances). Looking for more info did not help much because I do not know much about thermodynamics (see: and scroll to this film), but I can understand the homage to James Clerk Maxwell for his contribution to colour photography. The "demon" part of the title is still unclear.

George Landow, Remedial Reading Comprehension - 1970 (4 min)

"This is a film about you" and "not about its maker" appear near the beginning and the end, respectively. This film feels like a dream by the woman at the beginning, perhaps recalling a class and a man running. Then there is a section where a few words at a time are revealed in a larger text all to arcade game-like SFX. 

Paul Sharits, Tails - 1976 (3 min)

I have always liked showing all of the film shot on a particular roll of film, i.e. I add leader to the beginning and end of the actual film so I have everything exposed. I am drawn to the process of how the film begins and ends itself --- something I do not have any control over. Sharits took this literally and recombined bits of the ends of various films into one film. I can only assume this was optically printed so the sprocket holes were also exposed. Some images of the films were apparent, but they appeared to be running at a different speed that is normally "normal". I was waiting to see the tail end roll by, to see how the next piece started.

Michael Snow, WVLNT (Wavelength For Those Who Don't Have the Time) - 2003 (15 min)

Watching WVLNT is simply weird. I can understand why Snow remade Wavelength (to provide easy access to others), but this version loses the original flavour; would be like saying black olives and plums are similar enough based on similar colour and one is simply larger in size. This version is as though Snow hacked Wavelength into at least two sections, layered them on top of each other, and playing at the same time. It could not be directly in half and using all the footage, since, and I know I am bad with math, 15 + 15 = 30, not almost 43. One other majour difference is this version does not fall silent at the end, i.e. the noise (maybe some kind of sine oscillator) stops at 41:51 of the original version and there is only white noise (which begins to sound like water).

With all that said, I really enjoyed this version, as its own entity. I felt this film oozed a fulfilling experience in the sense of density (but I was most interested the with duration in the original). 

Micheal Snow, Wavelength - 1966-1967 (43 min)

There is mainly one layer, from a slowly zooming fixed camera, to watch, with the addition of flashing colours and some double exposures. The people are more clearly readable and are more easily understood. This version dealt with duration mixed with some narrative, but personally Snow could have left that out. The viewer can also see more clearly what Snow was doing with exposure and lighting. By the time the camera zooms in and stays on the image of the waves, I do not know if it there begins to be an optical illusion because of the bad transfer to video, then processed for YouTube, or if it simply is an optical illusion because we are made to look at the waves for an extended period of time, but the water seems to move without moving.

------------ Edited: 25 November 2012 @ 16:35 EST -----------

Fluxus Films

Yoko Ono, One, 1965 (5 min)

There is one fluid motion of the striking of the match. The hand almost distorted as the action is being carried out, returns to it functional state as the match head blazes into existence. The flame slowly dances, flickering slightly, almost hovering just above the match head. Such a simple act slowed to an almost painful pace, picks up grace and balance with the extinguishing of the flame.

Jeff Perkins, Shout, 1966 (2 min)

I do not know if was the filmmaker's intension to attempt to be overly dramatically "angry", somehow I doubt it; was comedic. I found the start and stop of the action most amusing, the 'I do not think that was the best take so lets start again, with more feeling' --- and the fact that the pauses were left in the final presentation. I was drawn to the shadows the men's faces created on the wall just behind them. These shadows reduced the action in the faces to minimal flowing, morphing negative areas.

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