Location: Filmtheater ‘t Hoogt
“Ed Bachelor said: “The movie projector’s a kind of clock”, Somewhere inside the machine beats a Piranesi space, shaped and given dimension by a string of exposures of a seated woman undulating gravity-free. Who is the alluring lady of this filmstrip tease? I call her Dinah, because the name contains a D, an N, and an A”. – Ken Jacobs
Modern cinema is a reflection of the rationalization and standardisation of time. The amazement caused more than a century ago by the possibility of recording and analyzing movement has given way to an obsession with imitating “real time”. The certainties of progress and predictability, the two pillars of capitalist modernity, have also shaped the construction of cinematographic time. This programme features a selection of works that subvert the mimetic function of audio- visual media, and intervene – via mechanisms of variation and repetition – in the epistemological process of fragmentation that constitutes the basis of the conventional cinematographic vision.
Throbs – Fred Worden
USA, 1972, 16mm, 7:00 min
Found footage of circuses, fairgrounds and car crashes is repeated, distorted and layered, brought to the point of destruction and then back again, recoalescing to a hypnotic, looping and crescendoing soundtrack. Frequently employing an optical printer for his projects, Worden’s investigations involve subtle explorations of light, texture, colour, exposure, detail, and the other physical qualities of celluloid, emulsion, and the light that must pass through it. In Throbs unusually beautiful clashes of colour and shape occur a result of Worden’s creative manipulation of time and use of superimpositions.
Berlin Horse – Malcolm Le Grice
United Kingdom, 1970, 16mm, 9:00 min
“This film is largely filmed with an exploration of the film medium in certain aspects. It is also concerned with making certain conceptions about time in a more illusory way than I have been inclined to explore in many other of my films. It attempts to deal with some of the paradoxes of the relationships of the “real” time which exists when the film was being shot, with the “real” time which exists when the film is being screened, and how this can be modulated by technical manipulation of the images and sequences. The film is in two parts joined by a central superimposition of the material from both parts.” (MLG) The soundtrack was supplied by Brian Eno who at the time was exploring, in sound, a similar use of loops that changed their phase shift.
Versailles – Chris Garrat
United Kingdom, 1976, 16mm, 11:00 min
”For this film I made a contact printing box, with a printing area of 16mm x 185mm which enabled the printing of 24 frames of picture plus optical sound area at one time. The first part is a composition using 7 x 1-second shots of the statues of Versailles, Palace of 1000 Beauties, with accompanying sound- track, woven according to a pre-determined sequence. Because sound and picture were printed simultaneously, the minute inconsistencies in exposure times resulted in rhythmic fluctuations of picture density and levels of sound. Two of these shots comprise the second part of the film which is framed by abstract imagery printed across the entire width of the film surface: the visible image is also the sound image.” (CG)
Frank Stein – Iván Zulueta
Spain, 1972, 16mm, 3:00 min
Filmed before Arrebato, Zulueta’s Frank Stein is a very personal reading of horror cult classic Frankenstein (James Whale, 1931), filmed directly from its television broadcast and reducing Whale’s original to only three packed and dizzying minutes, during which the intimate monster evolves at an unusual rate. A game of rhythm and tempo which Zulueta will continue to explore in a series of super 8 short films such as King Kong, Mi ego está en babia, A malgam A and El mensaje es facial.
Handtinting – Joyce Wieland
Canada, 1967-68, 16mm, 6:00 min, mute
“This film is composed of cut-away shots that Wieland filmed for a proposed documentary on a West Virginia job training center. Wieland dyed this leftover footage, added flashes of other footage, and scratched and perforated the film itself with her sewing needles. Recent allusions to Handtinting incorporate into feminist critical discussion the importance of tools and methods of working particular to women’s crafts. The movie is comprised of looped and reversed images of the girls dancing, swimming, and talking so that a repetitive or loop effect results in actions that recur but are never completed. Their incomplete movements and gestures become isolated rhythms of social rituals. Lacking spatial depth and temporal completion, the repetitive actions negate the illusion of solid space in documentary cinema.” (Lauren Rabinovitz)
Marilyn Times Five – Bruce Conner
USA, 1972, 16mm, 10:00 min
Out of fifty feet of footage from a girlie 1950s movie (Apple Knockers and the Coke, featuring Arline Hunter, an actress who clearly attempts to impersonate Monroe), Conner has conjured an allegory of the human cycle of birth and death. He breaks up the tenuous continuity of the original production by reordering poses and distending certain movements via looped repetition or a form of progressive looping in which one movement begins in one shot, is incrementally advanced in the next shot, and so on. Five individual sequences are built around a lush recording of ‘I’m through with Love’; each successive permutation displays pieces of previously unseen footage interrupted by passages of black leader. Conner’s intent, in his own words, “was to take some parts of the found footage and rearrange them to see if the quintessential ‘Marilyn’ could emerge”.
Water Pulu 1869 1896 – Ivan Ladislav Galeta
Croatia (SFRY), 1987-88, 16mm, 9:00 min
In Water Pulu we see a game of water polo. The cameras keep the ball in the middle of the picture (an effect achieved by multiple exposure, copying and manipulations on the optical bench). It becomes the sun around which the human activities revolve. The first movement from Debussy’s La Mer and the noise of the game, which is mixed with the song of the dolphins, refer to water as the essential element for life. An ingenious system of number symbolism governing the order of images and cuts, and references to the significance of sun and water in culture and art place this film in the context of timeless human self-reflection. According to Georg Schöllhammer, “Galeta hides a true chamber of wonders behind the clear, mathematically abstract structure of his films and videos, meticulously compiled rhythmically frame for frame, each work likewise presenting an analysis of the film medium.”
What happened On 23rd Street in 1901 – Ken Jacobs
USA, 2009, video, 13:00 min, mute
“It was a set-up. A couple walks towards the camera, a sidewalk air-vent pushes the woman’s dress up. Layers of cloth billow and she is mortified. The moving picture camera, already in place and grinding away, captures the event and her consternation becomes history, now transferred to digital and shown everywhere. In this cine-reassessment, the action is simultaneously both speeded up and slowed down. How can that be? Overall progression is prolonged, so that a minute of recorded life-action takes ten minutes now to pass onscreen. Slow-motion, yes? No. Instead, the street action meets with a need to see more, and there descends upon the event a sudden storm of investigative technique in the form of rapid churning of film frames, looping of the tiny time-intervals that make up events. Black intervals enter and Eternalisms come into play meaning that directional movements continue in their directions without moving, potentially forever.” (KJ)
Dance n° 22 – Rafael Montañez Ortiz
USA, 1993, video, 10:00 min
“In my video work, I seek to suspend time, to magnify beyond all proportion the fantasy, dream, or nightmare I glimpse in even the most realistic straightforward documentary footage, in even the most innocent storyline.” (RMO). In this video Montañez Ortiz recho- reographs a scene from the Marx Brothers’ A Night at the Opera (1935) by stuttered edit- ing. The original, as we know it, is a love of anarchy. What Montañez Ortiz achieves here is sheer madness; the walls literally vibrate. “In an ongoing dance series, [Ortiz] has used this [editing] technique to explore the rhythmic undertones in social interactions, often fights among men. Ortiz describes the overall effect as a “holographic” space within the Hollywood text, yet outside the familiar perceptual mode and linear structure of mass media.” (Chon Noriega)
Mosaik Mécanique – Norbert Pfaffenbichler
Austria, 2007, 35mm, 9:30 min
The third part of Pfaffenbichler’s ‘Notes on Film’ series, which borrows its title from a combination of Fernand Leger’s Ballet Mécanique and Peter Kubelka’s Mosaik in Vertrauen. All the shots of the slapstick comedy A Film Johnnie (Charlie Chaplin, 1914) are shown simultaneously in a symmetrical grid, one after the other. Each scene, from one cut to the next, from the first to the last frame, is looped. Spatialisation takes the place of temporality, synchronism that of chronology. A polyrhythmic kaleidoscope is produced as a result (reflected in Bernhard Lang’s music), tearing the audience back and forth between an analytic way of seeing rhythmic patterns and the impulse to (re)construct a plot.