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THE ELEMENT OF TIME

WILLIAM URICCHIO

For several years, William Uricchio has been investigating the audience expectations and the changes that played a role during the development of the film medium. Film created a new expe­rience of space, time and events, but could not fulfill the promise of ‘simultaneity’, the simultaneous transmission of images. It is from this viewpoint that Uricchio will discuss the various ways of mani­pulating time which were used in early films. He will also discuss the concepts of time which now play a role in new media.
William Uricchio is a Professor of Film and Television Sciences at the University of Utrecht.

 

24 TIMES IN A SECOND

Many experimental filmmakers have been inspired by film’s basic rhythm of 24 frames per second. Peter Kubeika radically magnifies this heartbeat in ‘Arnulf Rainer’, in which he reduces the film to an alternation of light and dark: a stroboscope. Filmmakers like Paul Sharits and Tony Conrad. have long been interested in the effects that these flashing pat­terns of light have on our visual perception. Certain rhythms can induce perception of colours and movements which in fact are not in the film at all. The film ‘Passage Through’ by Stan Brakhage explo­res a similar tension produced between what is being projected and how our eyes react to it. Most of the film is black, occasionally interrupted by a single image. Brakhage plays with the suspense of waiting and the relationships established between the sporadic images.

The Death Train, Bill Morrison (US, 1993, 17:00, 16 mm)

Arnulf Rainer, Peter Kubeika (Austria, 1958-60, 6:30, 16 mm)

Blazes, Robert Breer (US, 1961, 3:00, 16 mm)

Schwechater, Peter Kubeika (Austria, 1957-58, 2:00, 16 mm)

Passage Through: A Ritual, Stan Brakhage (US, 1990, 45:00, 16 mm)

Straight and Narrow, Tony Conrad (US, 1970, 10:00, 16 mm)

 

MULTIPLE TIMES

This programme includes films and videos which use a diversity of techniques to try and capture different layers in time within one frame. In the film ‘Tango’ by Polish filmmaker Rybzcinsky we gradu­ally discover that the people we perceive to be in the space are not there at the same time. The films by Hiroshi Yamazaki ahd Gary Beydler both have the same subject: the fact that at any time on earth it is both day as well as night. Kurt Kren, in ‘Asyl’ filmed the same view for 21 consecutive days, using continually different masks in front of the lens, resul­ting in a landscape fragmented in time.

Short Film Series, Guy Sherwin (UK 1976-79, 6:00, 16 mm)

Pas de deux, Norman Mclaren (Canada, 1969, 16 mm)

Ricercar, Claudia Kolgen (The Netherlands, 1984, 8:00, 16 mm)

Tango, Zbigniew Rybzcinsky (Poland, 1980, 10:00, 35 mm)

31/75 Asyl, Kurt Kren (Austria, 1975, 8:30, 16 mm)

Heliography, Hiroshi Yamazaki (Japan, 1979, 6:00, 16 mm)

The Reflecting Pool, Bill Viola (US, 1977-79, 12:00, video)

Hand Held Day, Gary Beydler (US, 1974, 6:00, 16 mm)

 

A MOMENT IN TIME

One of the most fascinating aspects of time is that it is so elu­sive; worlds can be hidden in a short moment. In ‘See You Later’ an everyday event takes on monu­mental proportions by slowing it down to the extreme. The minu­test of movements hidden in an 18 second fragment of film are converted into a wonderful piece of choreography for a man and a woman by Martin Arnold. ‘Retracer’ deals with repetition in time in which the same action reappears on ever deeper level. Maya Deren and Chris Marker explore the surreal and uncanny aspects of travelling around a moment in time.

See you later/ Au revoir, Michael Snow (Canada, 1990, 18:00, 16 mm)

Piece Touchee, Martin Arnold (Austria, 1989, 15:00, 16 mm)

The Dance, David Rimmer (Canada, 1970, 5:00, 16mm)

Meshes of the Afternoon, Maya Deren (US, 1943, 14:00, 16 mm)

Retracer, Michael Langoth (Austria, 1991, 3:00, video)

La Jetee, Chris Marker (France, 1962, 29:00, 16 mm)

 

KEN JACOBS’ NERVOUS SYSTEM PERFORMANCES

Basically, the Nervous System consists of two almost identical prints mounted on two projectors capable of stop-motion projection. In this way the film is reduced to a series of stills, projected at diffe­rent stages of synchronisation. Usually the two films are only one frame apart, which results in movement and an alienating illu­sion of space. The projected images are changed by a shutting mask or a spinning propellor. Tiny shifts in the way the two images overlap create radically different effects.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (A Flicker of Life), Ken Jacobs (1995)
Point of departure for this perfor­mance is a film recording of a street parade in Philadelphia in 1905. Two shots from the same camera position of floats and cos­tumed people prancing by. The images aquire an eerie power through 3D effects and colour.

Bitemporal Vision: The Sea, Ken Jacobs (1994)
‘The Sea’ is based on 587 images taken by the filmmaker Phil Solomon. ‘The Sea’ is even furt­her removed from a normal film experience than most of Jacobs’ other work. The surface of the water in Solomon’s original foot­age is turned into a wild , three­ dimensional eruption: up or down, backwards or forwards and full and empty become irrelevant.

 

WATCH, DAVID ROKEBY

‘Watch’ is an installation in which video images are manipulated in real-time. Two projections are derived from the images – one pro­jection contains all which is static in the image, the other contains all that is in motion. “One of the most striking sensations I have experienced while working with interactive technologies is the sensation of sculpting time itself. When working in more traditional time-based work such as film or video, the artist places events along a linear time line. Because I work with real-time behaviours in my work, I am no longer just posi­tioning events, but defining the texture and flow of time itself. ‘Watch· is a reflection of such alte­red experiences of time and move­ment.” (D.R.)

 

TIME STUDY 1, 2 EN 3, BILL SPINHOVEN

This installation by Bill Spinhoven is constructed out of a number of projections based on live recor­dings of visitors in the exhibition space. These images are manipu­lated in real-time in such a way so as to invite the audience to behave in different ways. In one of the projections, the images are manipulated by his ‘Time Stret­cher’, a device which enables one to fully experience Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Another part of the installation is the ‘Boredom Machine’. which only films people who have not moved for a while.

 

PIANO, VIOLIN, VIOLA, CELLO, HET IVES ENSEMBLE

The very last work of Morton Feldman.

 

 


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